Lions Weir Project

The Lions Weir is one of the most recognisable locations in Boddington. The Lions Weir spans the Hotham River to the North of Boddington townsite and was constructed in the 1980s by the Boddington Lions Club with the purpose of providing safe recreational space for the town. Originally the Weir was constructed of earth & rock backed timber. Sometime after the initial construction a concrete cap was placed over the weir and then in recent times, a fish ladder was constructed on the Southern side of the weir to enable fish to continue their progress upstream to breed.

Over time the area upstream of the weir has to varying degrees become subject to sedimentation. According to a 2019 study the volume of accumulated sediment upstream of the weir in the area known as the town pool is approximately 12,000m3. The accumulated sediment has reduced the volume of water that can be stored by the weir and thus reduced the usefulness of the waterbody for its original purpose of recreation for the town. The nature of the warm, shallow water coupled with the elevated levels of available nutrients in the town pool has resulted in occurrences of algal growth.

The Town Pool is home to a diverse range of fauna and flora including the near-threatened freshwater oblong turtle, Pygmy perch, Nightfish and Gilgie. Conservation of the habitat and project impacts on these and other native species needs to be a key consideration for the project.

The nature of the communities’ vision for the use of this space created by the weir is also a subject that will need to be explored by this project. Depending on the proposed uses of the space the remediation action required to achieve these plans will differ.

Why is this Project taking place?

The Lions Weir was an area of interest identified by the community during consultation of the 2022 - 2032 Council Plan

The need to undertake this project is driven by:

  • Community interest in rehabilitating the Weir as outlined in the Council Plan
  • An excess build up of sediment in the river, making it unattractive for recreational use
  • Aging infrastructure - No recent structural assessments have been undertaken
  • Enhancing the health of the Hotham River

A number of factors will need to be considered throughout this project, including:

  • Impact on river flora and fauna
  • The structural integrity of the weir
  • How the space should be used
  • Historical and cultural significance

How can I be involved?

The scope of this project will be shaped by the Reference Group which includes representatives from Council, Boddington Lions Club, Newmont, Peel-Harvey Catchment Council, Traditional Landowners and community members.

The establishment of a reference group enables the community to be directly involved in the development of the Lions Weir project plan, objectives and scope. Feedback provided by the reference group will assist Council in making decisions that respond to concerns and aspirations, and have the best overall outcomes for the community. 

Broader community input will be sought when the project reaches key milestones. Comments throughout the project can be sent to 

What has occurred to date?

Several meetings of the Reference Group have already taken place in 2023. The 3 key project components were identified by the Group as:

1. The river bed (silted up sections)

Following the 2019 study, an assessment of the river to determine any change to the extent of the silted up sections was undertaken in August 2023. With a detailed picture of the magnitude of the silt build up and a comparison to data obtained in 2019, the Shire will be able to call for tenders for the removal of the silt and gain an understanding of the possible future requirement for ongoing maintenance.

2. The surrounds (pathways and boardwalks)

The surrounding landscape and opportunities for pathways, trails and boardwalks, is currently on hold until the financial impact of the river remediation is confirmed. This section of the project was considered a ‘nice to have’ rather than an essential component.

3. The weir wall

Members of the reference group who were involved in the original construction of the wall, as well as the project manager, met with an experienced engineer to inspect and discuss the structural integrity and functioning of the weir wall. The assessment noted that it is unlikely the wall will fail in the foreseeable future. There may be some water escaping through the wall, and this will be subject to ongoing assessment as the water level drops over the warmer months.

Recommendations from the engineering assessment include:

  • Carry out some maintenance of the Fish Ladder to remove debris and weeds
  • Remove the rocks which are higher than the concrete screed.
  • Ensure that the down-stream rocks form an even surface of large rocks.
  • Investigate the condition of the concrete screed face as the pool level drops.
  • Investigate the flow of water under the weir toe and through the concrete screed as the pool level falls.

One of the other matters under consideration is whether having some type of opening in the wall, such as a “sluice gate”, could assist in mitigating future silt build up. This concept would be subject to design and costs considerations, and various State Government approvals. No decisions will be made regarding this until a greater understanding of the dredging element of the project has been established.

What's Next?

  • Assessment of sediment volume
  • Determination of costs to undertake microdredging

Regular meetings of the Reference Group are scheduled to progress this project.

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