The Woolgoolga Lake working group held their first meeting recently.
The Woolgoolga Lake working group held their first meeting recently. TREVOR VEALE

New group looks for some quick wins for Woolgoolga Lake

THE first meeting of a new working group to guide future management of Woolgoolga Lake has identified a number of priorities.

Last month a community meeting on the shores of the lake, called by long-term residents including 89-year-old Bill Buckless, drew a huge crowd and was the catalyst for the formation of the working group.

Concerns range from flooding to reduced flows and poor water quality; while some remember the 'good old days' when they learnt to swim or went water skiing there.

Deputy Mayor and Woolgoolga resident Tegan Swan has offered to guide the group in these early stages and they held their first meeting at the Woolgoolga Tourist Information Centre on March 27.

One suggestion was the group take the form of a council advisory committee but after further investigation it was decided to work in with the Woolgoolga Chamber of Commerce.

"In reality that would not have been the most effective way to get action as they're advisory groups as opposed to working groups so the chamber has been very magnanimous in agreeing to auspice the group,” Cr Swan said.

HUGE TURNOUT: Deputy Mayor Tegan Swan and Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan at the meeting in February.
HUGE TURNOUT: Deputy Mayor Tegan Swan and Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan at the meeting in February. TREVOR VEALE

There were approximately 20 people at the first meeting with David Moase taking on the role of chairperson.

As Cr Swan explains the initial goal is to focus on some quick wins.

"Going for the big tricky things straight up can cause more frustration and make it feel like you aren't getting anywhere, so small steps quickly add up as you chip away.

"A lot of actions came out of this first meeting and I'm so proud of them,” Cr Swan said.

Representatives from various agencies including ​council's Director Sustainable Infrastructure Mick Raby were there to outline the various agencies involved in the lake's management.

The lake is an Intermittently Closed and Open Lake or Lagoon (ICOLL) which is sensitive and highly dynamic and subject to physical changes, particularly around the entrances.

One of the first priorities is to identify funding for restoration work and the group has already submitted an Expression of Interest for a $20,000 federal grant and a member will be attending one of council's regular grant writing workshops.

"There was also much discussion about the retaining wall on the northern side of the lake and if there would be options for a more natural structure there,” Cr Swan said.

The issue of water quality was also up for discussion and Mr Raby confirmed there are already two sites at the lake that are tested annually.



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