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The Wetlands to be officially opened

The Bland Shire’s best kept secret is about to be let out of the bag when “The Wetlands” is officially opened at a gala community celebration this Saturday, March 14.

The entire community is invited to come together and join in the celebrations at The Wetlands from 12.30pm with a range of unique and exciting interactive activities planned to suit people of all ages.

The Wetlands project started in 2008 with joint funding from Council, the New South Wales Government and Riverina Eastern Region Organisation of Councils (REROC) of approximately $385,000. Valuable support has also been received from the West Wyalong Local Aboriginal Land Council and Lake Cowal Conservation Centre.

A further commitment of $200,000 from Council over the last three years has seen the area develop into the functional rural oasis from which the Bland Shire community will reap the benefits for generations to come.

The wetlands project has multipurpose objectives including water storage, wildlife habitat, education and tourism. The extra water storage created by the project will help drought proof many of the beautiful parks and sporting fields in West Wyalong and Wyalong.

The concept of the project was to restore the area to a pre-European habitat after parts of The Wetlands were first proclaimed as a bird and wildlife sanctuary on June 17, 1949. Since its redevelopment the area has once again started attracting keen bird watchers, who have reported some rare and exciting sightings in the area.

Saturday’s official opening will be a celebration of the achievements to date and a showcase of the possibilities in the future.

Following the official opening at 12.30pm, members of the community will be invited to take part in some of the many activities available at The Wetlands or just enjoy the spectacular surroundings.

People are encouraged to bring along their fishing rod and try their luck at the designated fishing areas. There are plenty of fish in the area after Council released several thousand yellow belly fingerlings into The Wetlands in March, 2013. All fishing at The Wetlands is catch and release.

A worm farm and organic fertiliser display will be on show for those interested in starting their own worm farm. A small supply of worms will be available for those people wishing to fish.

Another feature of the morning promises to be the canoe and kayak rides around the area.

The West Wyalong Local Aboriginal Land Council has generously made available six three seater canoes and two single kayaks for the community to enjoy the surrounds of The Wetlands in style.

Rides of up to 30 minutes will be available between 1pm and 2.30pm at the designated area on a first come first serve basis. Children under the age of 10 must be accompanied by an adult.

Canoes and kayaks will not be the only vessels on the water at the official opening celebrations.

The newly formed Wyalong Yacht Club will set sail with their remote controlled boats between 1pm and 2.30pm. An impressive fleet of boats has been confirmed for the mini regatta and anyone with a remote control boat is encouraged to bring it along and join in the light hearted fun.

With so much to see and do, those in attendance will quickly work up a hunger and Council has joined forces with the West Wyalong Rotary Club, custodians of the adjacent Rotary Park, to provide a free barbecue lunch from 1pm. Drinks will also be available for purchase on the day.

The official celebrations conclude at 2.30pm when the West Wyalong Rotary Club take over proceedings when they formally bury a time capsule in Rotary Park containing various items submitted by the community.

More information about The Wetlands opening is available by phoning Bland Shire Council on 6972 2266.