River wrecks a ‘tragedy’

By Tate Papworth

Sydenham Park is home to some of the state’s most unique flora and fauna – and dumped cars.

In the past six months, the number of cars dumped in the park along the Maribyrnong River has been as high as seven.

Neil Hunichen, a regular visitor to the park, said the “environmental tragedy” was putting one of the region’s nature attractions at risk.

“There’s reports that there might be platypus in the river we’re talking about and at the moment we have five cars upside down and oil visibly leaking into the water,” he said.

Mr Hunichen said he’d alerted the appropriate authorities to the problem six months ago, when there were just two cars at the site off McNabs Road.

“To access the area in question, you have to go through Melbourne Airport land, but Melbourne Water are responsible for the river,” Mr Hunichen said.

“It’s completely unacceptable that no action has been taken to fix such an obvious problem.”

A Melbourne Water spokesperson said the organisation was aware of the problem, but the location had made retrieving vehicles difficult.

Despite having been alerted to the problem six months ago, Melbourne Water is waiting on “more stable seasonal conditions” before retrieving the cars.

“We are aware of the presence of dumped vehicles at the intersection of the Maribyrnong River and Deep Creek,” the spokesperson said.

“We have engaged a contractor to remove the vehicles. However, given the challenging location, the contractor advised holding off on removing the vehicles until the arrival of more stable seasonal conditions and a number of safety concerns were met at the site.

“We are working closely with Melbourne Airport to gain access to the site and remove the cars in the coming weeks, subject to suitable weather conditions. We plan to update the community on completion of the works.”

Mr Hunichen said retrieving the cars would only partially fix the problem.

“The entry point people are using to access the park is on Melbourne Airport land,” he said.

“They need to put a block up on the road to stop people accessing it.”

Melbourne Airport corporate and public affairs executive Jai McDermott said the airport was working with the City of Hume to prevent illegal access to the area.