New facilities, upgraded boat ramps on cards under draft strategy

Upgraded boat ramps, investigations into new swimming baths and the installation of waterfront infrastructure to encourage new festivals and events are among the measures outlined in a draft Lake Activation Strategy.

The draft strategy now on public exhibition aims to proactively manage Lake Macquarie’s key natural asset, balancing environmental, social and economic needs into the future.

Lake Macquarie City Council Manager Asset Management Helen Plummer said the strategy applied to:

  • Lake Macquarie, including Swansea Channel
  • Council-owned and managed foreshore land
  • Council-owned and managed infrastructure, including jetties, boat ramps, pontoons and swimming baths
  • Government and privately-owned aquatic facilities accessible to the public

“Lake Macquarie has some wonderful natural advantages for aquatic recreation and tourism,” Ms Plummer said.

“But it also has some sensitive physical and ecological features which require careful management to avoid safety and environmental risks. This strategy will help achieve that balance.”

High priority actions outlined in the strategy include developing a capital works program to upgrade boat ramps across the City.

“A number of boat ramps have been developed as local facilities, but have been identified to serve at a district level and are likely to require upgrading in the near future,” Ms Plummer said.

Also high on the list is the introduction of a new expressions of interest process to issue leases to tourism-focused businesses activating Council-managed land around the lake.

“Encouraging new tourism opportunities that capitalise on the lake without exploiting it has the potential to create significant flow-on benefits to our community,” Ms Plummer said.

Installation of infrastructure such as power, water and lighting in foreshore reserves is included in the strategy’s action plan to help support small and medium-sized waterfront events.

New enclosed swimming baths for the western side of the lake will also be investigated, following public feedback and the growing popularity of the recently refurbished Belmont Baths.

Rathmines, Toronto and the Morisset Peninsula are among the potential sites set to be explored.

“Further investigation is needed, but baths on the western side of the lake will serve thousands of residents, from Bolton Point to the City’s south-western border,” Ms Plummer said.

The draft strategy follows six months of community consultation, where residents and visitors were asked to provide feedback about facilities and services for lake-based recreation, barriers to lake activation and areas for improvement.

“That feedback provided some really valuable insight, and helped inform the action plan that is central to this strategy,” Ms Plummer said.

“We’re now encouraging everyone to take a look at the draft and provide feedback during the exhibition period.”

Lake Macquarie Mayor Cr Kay Fraser said the lake was a “significant” contributor to the City’s lifestyle and reputation.

“The development of our first Lake Activation Strategy will help ensure our long-term vision for the lake,” Cr Fraser said.

“It sets a clear framework and plan for its future access, use and enjoyment, and will ensure it remains a wonderful asset for future generations to enjoy.”

The community can provide feedback at Public exhibition closes 26 July.

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