Karen campaigns online for lake
FANS of Woolgoolga lake have gone online in an attempt to save it from oblivion.
And it’s all down to Karen Hutchinson, who has resolved to do something to return the lake to its former glory.
She had already started to gather community support when she set up the Facebook page, Save Woolgoolga Lake.
Since going online, she has been inundated with responses and now has more than 340 members.
A repeated theme of the people who have signed up for the site has been they want to see some real change and are prepared to do the work to make it happen.
Mrs Hutchinson first moved to Woolgoolga in 1974 when her parents, George and Ellen Cooper, managed Lakeside Caravan Park.
At that time the lake was a popular boating and water skiing area. The school used to hold swimming carnivals in the deep, clean water; there was a safe beach area for the kids; there was paddleboat hire on weekends and a pontoon in the middle of the lake for diving.
In the middle of the lake the water was 4.5m deep and in the channel which ran on the northern side of the lake the water was 5.5m deep.
Mrs Hutchinson claims the intermittently opening lake was closed for a period of time in the mid 1970s and the water became stagnant so Coffs Harbour City Council decided to re-open the lake.
However, they didn’t follow the established water channel on the northern side of the lake and instead made a new, shorter channel through the middle of a sand dune, which has since disappeared, at the southern side of the lake.
Mrs Hutchinson’s remembers from that point on the lake started to silt up and the new channel cut into the beach area, completely eroding metres of land from the southern side of the lake.
Fish died as they were unable to follow their normal breeding paths.
After returning to the area 10 years ago, Mrs Hutchinson vowed to do something to save the lake.
She has finally taken the first step and her second step is to start lobbying the council and related government departments.
“It makes me depressed, I grew up on this lake and I am not the only one who feels like that, it is our lake,” she said.
“I have started getting it out there that we need to care for our water areas and see how much interest can be raised and what ideas come out of it.
“It is something I have wanted to do for ages and if we don’t do it – it will never happen.”
Cr John Arkan has promised that he will support the group and any initiatives it might undertake.
He can also remember going to the lake as a youngster, learning how to swim there and he also has lots of happy memories of Indian get-togethers of the foreshores.