Locals are calling for the reopening of Imperial Lake, as Essential Water makes moves to decommission the site.
President of Broken Hill Landcare, Simon Molesworth, said Landcare has been exploring a future for the man-made dam which was closed in 1979.
“With two years of concept development behind us, and with the benefit of many useful discussions with relevant parties, Landcare Broken Hill is exploring establishing a community-based Trust which Landcare will manage,” he said.
“Legal models for an appropriate ownership and management structure are being examined.
“Our concept involves creating a nature park, not a national park, which will include walking trails, bicycle paths, passive recreational facilities for picnics and the like, and a really major arboretum through which paths will meander amongst the plants Landcare will propagate and plant.
Mr Molesworth said discussions with relevant authorities and stakeholders will be completed in the New year.
“The Lake itself will be reduced to a safe depth, offering in part nature conservation opportunities and in other parts, safe paddling and row boating,” he said.
Mayor Darriea Turley said the Council is behind the Imperial Lake being used as an amenity for locals and visitors.
“Council resolved to support the push to have Imperial Lake as an asset for Broken Hill in 2019 and we are behind the project 110 percent,” she said.
‘There are a lot of hurdles to overcome and the best way forward is to have a trust for the Lakes so that it has independence and can attract philanthropic donations.
“Roy Butler MP and Council have been working together to create a smooth path to having it as a community asset,” Mayor Darriea Turley said.
Member for Barwon Roy Butler said the addition of the Imperial Lake to the community would have enormous benefits and increase the length of time workers stay in the region and attract others to work here.
“Many exit surveys from public servants who have left Broken Hill stated that they missed having a recreational body of water,” he said
“Imperial Lake can provide an amenity for the city, where residents can swim, barbecue, fish and play water sports. It will really be a positive thing for Broken Hill.”
Since the 1970s Kaplan health research has shown that the lake environment increases happiness, concentration and reduces anxiety.
If decommissioning is finalised, the major changes to take place at Imperial Lake will include – excavating part of the front wall and creating a spillway, thus allowing the overflow to continue down the Willa Willyong Creek.
According to Ross Berry, Head of Water for Essential Water, the depth of the lake will be about 1.5 metres.
The tender was finalised in July 2020 but due to COVID restrictions, the work should begin in January 2022 and be completed by May.