QWAG’s biggest ever annual newsletter is packed full this year.

Quaggy Action Masthead
“Quaggy Action”, QWAG’s annual newsletter, is published today. Over the next few days it will be dropping through the letterboxes of members and supporters – landing with a bigger bump because this year’s issue has been increased by no less than 50%, from eight pages to twelve pages.

Without the extra pages it would have been impossible to fit in all our news. Even with the removal of the membership application form to a separate sheet – see Dues due (3rd July 2006) – space has been at a premium.

Raising awareness
Unsurprisingly, the newsletter leads with QWAG’s current campaign over the Lewisham Gateway development. With its wide distribution to members, supporters and the general public we are hoping to raise awareness of the current planning application and get further backing for our campaign to move the roads four more metres away from the Quaggy. We believe that the majority of people who were consulted are unaware of how their wish to open up the rivers and create more green space appears to have been largely disregarded.

Restoring the river

A general view of Manor Park as it looks today

A general view of Manor Park as it looks today

Two articles illustrate QWAG’s continuing commitment to restoring the Quaggy, whether a few metres or a few hundred.

The trials and tribulations of the Manor Park makeover is a story that will already be familiar to regular visitors of the website. Just three months ago the whole regeneration project was in jeopardy – now the first steps towards restoration have already begun.
Ready for regeneration. A general view of Manor Park as it looks today.

This short stretch of the Quaggy behind Nandos restaurant will benefit from in-channel improvements

This short stretch of the Quaggy behind Nandos restaurant will benefit from in-channel improvements

Less well known is the four year struggle to get in-channel improvements made to the Quaggy behind Nandos restaurant, built on the site of the former Sultan pub on Lee High Road. Reports of progress or setbacks on this long running project have been the highlight of many QWAG meetings. Now, thanks to the dogged persistence of Matthew Blumler, the necessary works will start shortly.

Other activities
There is a new report on last September’s popular river walk but owing to space constraints there are only brief notes on the two Lewisham Walking Festival walks. However, both were well documented on the website.

The regular updates on Chinbrook Meadows and Sutcliffe Park are included. Miscellaneous other activities, such as the successful Logs for Stag Beetles campaign and ongoing Educational Displays project are also covered. And the newsletter would not be complete without a short article on the continued growth of this website.

Restoration of the Ravensbourne
There is also space for a brief report on the EU funded QUERCUS project. The fund will enable two short stretches of the River Ravensbourne to be naturalised. Work on the first stretch, recently named Cornmill Gardens, is just starting and should be complete next summer. Design work on the second stretch, the northern end of Ladywell Fields, is well underway.

This section of concrete channel will be removed and the restored river will run through a new park, named Cornmill Gardens.

This section of concrete channel will be removed

This section of concrete channel will be removed

Although the QUERCUS project is not directly related to the Quaggy, QWAG have been involved in consultation exercises, and there is little doubt that the presence of two successful local examples of river naturalisation has been a major influence on the designs selected.

Getting a copy
The newsletter is currently being mailed to all members and supporters on record. It will be available to members of the public at QWAG events and meetings.

QWAG would like to thank the editorial team, Ruth Davies and Dave Larkin, for their hard work over the last months. We would also like to express our thanks to Lewisham Council for all their help with the printing and distribution of the newsletter.

Make a splash without getting wet!