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The Current of Change – Community cleans up the River Douglas
Monday 9th August, 2010

A riverbank community is taking steps to protect one of Wigan Borough’s most important natural assets by taking responsibility for its upkeep and wellbeing.

Swinley Residents’ Group has taken the cause of the borough major tributary – the River Douglas – to its heart and has been working closely with Wigan Council’s Environmental Education Team to keep it looking its best.

Surveys carried out amongst the residents who live close to the water’s edge have revealed that whist the area is popular with visitors and is well-used, many are unhappy with the way it looks.

The council has received complaints about litter, dog fouling and overgrown weeds and plants.
To this end the residents’ group has decided to seize the moment and look take charge of the operation to protect this valuable natural environment.

Last month the group, along with council officers, made a start along the river walkway from Powell Street to Central Park Way Bridge, along the side of Tesco.

This walkway is a well-used route into Wigan town centre as well as being a gateway to Haigh Country Park. The team has already started to remove litter and overgrown vegetation and this Saturday they will return again to further landscape and improve the area.

The group has successfully applied to the Big Lottery Fund to help pay for the improvement work and are also being supported by loyal home grown firm Bulldog Tools who have donated spades, rakes and loppers to the cause. The project is also being supported by the Friends of Douglas Valley.

Sheila Livesey of the Swinley Residents’ Group says: “The River Douglas has lots of potential and we are delighted that this project is now underway. It will not only improve the walkway but we believe we can transform it into a visit attraction in its own right.”

Wigan Council’s Cabinet Champion for the Environment, Cllr David Molyneux, is full of praise for the group’s efforts. He says: “The aim of this project is to create a river walkway which people can enjoy and feel safe to use. Part of the project will be to raise awareness of local biodiversity and the importance of the river.

“We are happy to support it. It is a really great example of what members of the local community can achieve when they work together and with the council to improve their own area.”

Everyone is invited to come along and take part in the clean-up. The meeting point is the Tesco bridge at 10am. For more information you can contact the council’s Environmental Education Team on 01942 488222.

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