The South Esk River is a popular swimming spot at Perth.

FLOODS: The South Esk River at Perth is full of debris after the 2016 floods, according to Jan Davis. Picture: Paul Scambler
FLOODS: The South Esk River at Perth is full of debris after the 2016 floods, according to Jan Davis. Picture: Paul Scambler

Chairwoman of the Perth District Committee Jan Davis says she is “not happy Jan” about the Northern Midlands Council’s reluctance to clear a portion of the South Esk River at Perth.

The river is a popular swimming spot for locals, but some people say it has become unsafe thanks to debris and fallen tree limbs.

Perth local, John Stagg, has been particularly vocal about the state of the river, which he described as “a bit beyond a joke now”.

Mr Stagg wrote a letter to The Examiner expressing his frustration at the council’s lack of activity concerning the river. 

“For three years I’ve been asking the Northern Midlands Council to clear and clean-up the main swimming area of the South Esk River at Perth,” the letter read. 

“What an insult to the people of Perth telling them to travel when the have the river that has been used for more than 100 years.”

Ms Davis said the district committee has had ongoing discussions with the council about the river.

However, despite the fact the committee has “pushed it pretty hard”, the river remains unsafe, according to Ms Davis.

“It's not an official swimming hole, but we know the kids swim there and have done since Adam was in short pants,” she said.

“We're concerned that after the last floods about what could be there that could be risky to kids jumping in and out.”

Northern Midlands mayor David Downie said it was unclear if the river was the responsibility of the council or of the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment.

“We're going to investigate to see whether we can do something, and that info hasn't come back yet,” Cr Downie said.

A DPIPWE spokesman said the department had not received any requests to look into the situation.

“The Esk River crosses through Crown land, council land and private property, therefore it is important to carry out an assessment of the issue, which will determine the appropriate response,” he said.

“DPIPWE will work with the local council, land owners and the community to assess and help address this issue.”