IT’S the heart of a tiny community near the brimming bank of Chaffey Dam, and despite what’s been nothing short of a tumultuous 12 months, it’s beating as strong as ever.
The Woolomin Gold Rush Store was thrust in to spotlight just year ago, when the shop’s underground fuel storage leaked into the town’s ground water.
If you stop by the town’s only store, you’ll still get the same warm-welcome from owners Shane and Kylie Douglas, but the heart of the town has understandably skipped a few beats along the way.
It probably might be 10 years before the water will actually be back to normal.- Store owner Shane Douglas
“There was probably heaps of times,” Mr Douglas said on fearing for the shop’s future.
“It was going from week-to-week.
“Everyone was trying to do the best thing for Woolomin, and for us and the whole community.”
The Douglas’ were told from the start the clean up would be a long-term fix and while there’s been stormy waters to traverse, they’ve had some lucky breaks.
“No one wanted us to close down, even though it looked as though some weeks it was going bad, the next week picked you up and away you go again,” Mr Douglas said.
“We’ve missed having fuel, that did bring people to the shop.
“But Chaffey Dam being full is a huge a bonus.
“That’s bringing a lot of tourists out. That’s kept us going and the locals.”
Mr Douglas understands it could be while before the issue is fully resolved. But the support of the EPA has been reassuring.
“It probably might be 10 years before the water will actually be back to normal,” Mr Douglas said.
“The people don’t understand because they love bashing the council and the EPA, anything government they love bashing. And I say, no, they’re doing all they can.
“The EPA just want to get everyone back to having a life.”
Locals met with EPA officials on Friday to discuss results from the initial household bore tests.
“The final report is still being prepared by consultants GHD, however, initial results show that the contamination is still only impacting bores in the immediate vicinity of the General Store,” an EPA spokesperson said.
“The EPA expects to receive the full draft report from GHD in April and will contact affected residents again. Until then, the current advice is to refrain from using groundwater in Woolomin.”
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