By Bonny Burrows
Pakenham’s Kennedy Creek has become an “overgrown disgrace” due to neglect, according to a nearby resident.
Carolyn Murphy argues the creek, which runs through Fallingwater Estate, has increasingly become an eyesore over the past decade due to rubbish, weeds and overgrown vegetation, and says no-one will clean it up.
“I live adjacent to Fallingwater Estate. I go for walks pretty much every day and it’s getting worse and worse,” Ms Murphy said.
“It’s full of blackberries, rubbish and is overgrown beyond belief. Right now it’s an absolute haven for snakes.”
The former council worker recently contacted Cardinia Shire to lodge a request for maintenance, but was told the waterway was Melbourne Water’s responsibility.
“They agreed it was a mess and disgraceful but said unfortunately it wasn’t their area (to maintain),” Ms Murphy said.
“They suggested I send an email to Melbourne Water, which I was really surprised at, because when I worked at the council I had contacts at Melbourne Water. They shouldn’t ask a resident to get in touch with a responsible authority, but I did.”
The water authority returned Ms Murphy’s call a week later on 5 September, and she said the news shocked her.
“They said they’d come and have a look because they have nothing scheduled for maintenance,” Ms Murphy said.
“How did that happen? How did council and Melbourne Water forget a creek they were supposed to look after?
“Does this mean it’s never been maintained?”
Despite being assured the rubbish and weeds would be removed, Ms Murphy said Melbourne Water refused to cut back the overgrown vegetation.
“I was told they wouldn’t be removing native vegetation – I said it could be streamed back, but they said ‘No, we won’t be doing that’,” she said.
“Seriously, that’s the best they can do?”
The Pakenham resident of 20 years said the ordeal left her feeling like Fallingwater Estate was a poor cousin to neighbouring developments.
“It’s really disappointing when you’ve got estates like Lakeside and Heritage Springs which are all maintained and we’re getting ripped off over here,” Ms Murphy said.
“I don’t think I was asking too much.”
Cardinia Shire Council’s open space team leader Kevin Alexander said council was aware of concerns surrounding the maintenance of Kennedy Creek.
“Council has spoken to the resident and provided details around the areas of responsibility between council and Melbourne Water,” Mr Alexander said.
“It is council’s understanding that Melbourne Water is responsible for the creek’s maintenance, including the surrounding flora and weed removal around its natural riverbank.
Council is responsible for the nature strip maintenance alongside the creek and any assets it may own, including park benches.”
Melbourne Water’s inner suburbs team leader David Voce said the organisation was responsible for maintaining the Kennedy Creek waterway near the estate and both the water authority and council carried out regular rubbish removal and weed control works.
“This includes areas within the creek below the footpath. Other areas are currently maintained by council,” Mr Voce said.
He said the waterway’s current management plan was established during the construction of the estate, annd the organisation was seeking to modify it so it was responsible for maintenance and management of the waterway north of Kennedy Road as well.
Vegetation in the creek would not be removed, he said, as it “is native and natural and provides filtration for storm water, in order to protect the health of downstream waterways and our bays.”