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Port Macquarie-Hastings Council will seek further expert advice on the impacts on the waterway at Lake Cathie if it were to be dredged

Dredge or not to dredge: The waterway at Lake Cathie. Photo: Stewart Cooper.

Posted on December 15, 2020

PORT Macquarie-Hastings Council has opted not the dredge the waterway at Lake Cathie for sand dune replenishment along Illaroo Road.

Councillors unanimously supported to seek further expert advice from the Department of Primary Industries and Environment (DPIE) on any further adverse impacts on the lake should it be dredged; and when beneficial to do so, make a request to Member for Port Macquarie Leslie Williams to fully fund it.

The matter was raised at the December 9 ordinary council meeting.

Mayor Peta Pinson said while the lake is loved by the community, there has been a serious environmental impact on the health of the waterway as a result of drought, followed by flooding.

“After 90 years of tampering with this lake we are in a bit of an environmental mess here. While I want to see our community provided with a beautiful lake … we cannot deny we do have an environmental situation happening here,” Cr Pinson said.

“The Member for Port Macquarie Leslie Williams has reached out to us and made a suggestion to dredge the lake where we have a large amount of sand in the middle of the lagoon.

“This dredging, it was recognised (at a recent stakeholders meeting), would have absolutely no benefit to the health of the lake, and I acknowledge that.

“We do have a situation however, just around the corner on Illaroo Road, where we have significant erosion happening. It is being monitored by staff.

“The ability to dredge the lagoon is ours to have if we chose to do so. We do have a development application that’s approved through the state government to allow us to do that.

“It would be improper of us considering the fragility of the lake at this stage, to simply dredge for dredging’s sake. I have it on good advice that Illaroo Road is not at a point that it’s critical.”

Cr Pinson said there will come a time when the lake will require dredging and it would be wise of council to seek expert advice from DPIE now about the possible impacts on the waterway if it chose to proceed.

“On top of that there is roughly a $350,000 expense to dredge and that is an expense that shouldn’t be burdened on our ratepayers,” Cr Pinson said.

“If future dredging were to happen, I would certainly be requesting (Mrs Williams’) assistance in that regard.”

Deputy mayor Lisa Intemann supported the mayor and agreed with the advice of experts that dredging the lake is of no benefit at this stage.

“I understand there is likely only to be 20,000 cubic metres of sand that could be dredged from the lower lake system at this point in time and that would not make a significant difference to the shoreline,” Cr Intemann said.

“There is no dramatic need for it. I think it was absolutely agreed at the stakeholder meeting we must step back a little bit and do studies of the lake system before we do any intervention.”

Cr Pinson said it is important council forge ahead with developing its Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP).

“The lake is loved by our community. I congratulate every community member for their commitment to ensuring that the lake is restored holistically back to a natural environment, but it can also be a recreational environment,” Cr Pinson said.

“It’s about finding that balance. The drought has changed our lake. It needs healing by working with the coastal management plan as to how we are going to interact with our lake into the future and by not messing with it at the moment. For every action we do, there will be a reaction.”

Source: camdencourier

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