Korora residents say their lagoon has gone from being a local asset and landmark to a polluted and degraded mess.
Korora residents say their lagoon has gone from being a local asset and landmark to a polluted and degraded mess. Rob Wright

Korora lagoon now a health hazard

KORORA residents have begun a community campaign over the health of the suburb's lagoon, saying it's become a polluted sediment trap and a public health issue.

They say you wouldn't know it now, but kids use to swim in the waterway, families picnicked and bridal parties posed for photographs on its banks. A decade on and the lagoon is choked with silt, weeds, pollution and rubbish.

Highlighting the issue, residents in Norman Hill Dr, Links Ave and Blue Luben Cl have staged a protest calling on the Coffs Harbour City Council to immediately address the situation.

The concerned residents say raw sewage, stormwater added to run-off from a nearby construction site at the Opal Cove Resort, have contaminated their beachside waterway.

Resident Paul Meek says the polluted water has flooded his family's home on two occasions in recent years.

Mr Meek said that happened after a sewage pumping station backed up and overflowed into the lagoon, swamping the ground floor of his house.

“That's not the issue now, it's the state of the lagoon, it's just rank, absolutely disgusting,” Mr Meek said.

"We formed a resident's Landcare group about eight years ago, planted trees and beautified the area, but we just gave up a few years ago, water quality is the biggest issue now.

Karen Baff has owned a home next to the lagoon since 1970, she recalls when it was a pristine water hole.

"I can't believe what the lagoon has become, it is silted up, full of weeds due to gradual neglect," Ms Baff said.

Longstanding residents Annette and John Gibson are also committed to the regeneration project.

"This use to be an asset to this area, holidaymakers would come here to swim, grandparents, parents and kids would picnic here and many a bride has been photographed here, noone comes here now," Mrs Gibson said.

Coffs Harbour City Council staff are well aware of the issue, having looked into the problem site at the request of residents. 

The most recent council field inspection was in March and talk of an extensive clean-up followed, but the residents now want a timeframe for action.

A spokeswoman for the council says a plan of management is being prepared.

“Council acknowledges the understandable frustration that the Korora residents feel over this issue,” the spokeswoman said.

“The contractor has acknowledged the inadequacy of the sediment and erosion controls on the Opal Cove development and was to undertake the silt removal works from the lagoon when they began work on the site again.

“This has not occurred to date due to unrelated matters, however, the silt in the lagoon that originated from the development will be removed within a fortnight.

“A bio-control weevil has been introduced to attempt to control the noxious weed salvinia in the lagoon.”

“This will take at least 12 months to have an impact. A natural areas plan of management for Korora lagoons is also in preparation.

“However council funds to undertake such works are limited.

“Once the plan has been completed, residents will be consulted,” she said.

If you have a issue plaguing your neighbourhood contact us here at the Coffs Coast Advocate by dropping us a line  on 66502948 or email us at editorial@coffscoastadvocate.com.au

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