Mehi Beach soon to be a reality after working bee to lay the sand at Moree Water Park

By the end of this week, Mehi Beach will no longer be a concept at Moree Water Park.

Instead, the vision will finally become a reality once 1,500 tonnes of sand is laid out along the 180 metre long stretch on the bank of the large circuit lake.

Over the next few days, four road trains and a single trailer will cart a total of 2,000 tonnes of sand and gravel from Johnstone Concrete, to the water park where it will be spread out to create the iconic Mehi Beach.

The project is being funded by $140,000, from the state government’s Stronger Country Communities Fund, of which $100,000 is going towards the building of the beach.

“The beauty about this project is that 90 per cent of all the money is being spent locally,” Moree Water Ski Club president James von Drehnen said.

“People are working at discounted rates, so we can get as much value out of our grant as we can.

“We’ll get $200,000 value from that $100,000.”

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About 30 people –  including 10 from Joblink Plus’ work for the dole team, 10 moving sand and another 10 helping on the ground – are involved in the week-long Mehi Beach working bee.

The project involves laying out geo fabric to create a barrier between the black soil and the sand. The sand is then spread out over the geo fabric by an excavator to create the beach. Pits have also been installed to pipe the overland flow of water under the beach to prevent erosion from water washing down into the lake.

“What we learnt with the other project [Mehi Beach stage one] was really important with the right sequence to do things,” Mr von Drehnen said.

“That little $80,000 project set us up to do this $200,000 project really well.”

By the end of the week, Mr von Drehnen said they’ll have moved all the sand to make the beach and will have laid irrigation for the grass areas between the sand and the shelters.

“We plan to irrigate in September to get the grass growing and are planning for the opening to be in January when the water is deep enough,” he said.

The beach will be 180m long and about 10m wide, with sand to cover a total width of about 20m –  “so when you walk into the water you don’t go knee deep in mud”.

Once operational, it will include a designated swimming area in front of the proposed ‘clubhouse’.

“It’s pretty exciting,” Mr von Drehnen said.

Mr von Drehnen said the project wouldn’t be possible without the support and generosity of a number of local businesses and farmers including Johnstone’s Concrete which is supplying the sand and gravel, as well as loading and screeding it; Phil Christie; Jim Cush; BMC Partnership’s Ross Munro; C and H Organics’ Chris Hartin; Wilson Excavation’s Grant Wilson; Wilde Civil Moree; Jock’s Hire; and Waterquip.

“It’s a community project, being done by locals,” he said.

“It’s a great project to get absolute value for money out of this grant.”

It is envisaged to have the project completed by 2019 to coincide with the filling of the large circuit lake, in time for Moree Water Ski Club to host the 2019 National Waterskiing Championships over Easter.