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Jilly Pilon, Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Taylor Martin. Jilly Pilon, Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Taylor Martin. Featured
28 January 2018 Posted by 


$225,000 rescue dredging for The Entrance

THE ills and myths of Tuggerah Lakes down through the years could fill a thousand Shakespearean tragedies, but like all great stories from antiquity, a savior has appeared to rescue our beloved waterways.

The lakes were centre stage once again at the inaugural Central Coast Council elections and the State Government was quick to realize that new Mayor Jane Smith is a staunch conservationist determined to maintain and protect what we have left of our once pristine lakes system.

Minister for Lands and Forestry Paul Toole and Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast Scot MacDonald announced $225,000 for dredging at Tuggerah Lake at The Entrance.

Mr MacDonald said the dredging project would be funded under the NSW Government’s Rescuing Our Waterways program.

“This funding will help improve the accessibility, health and safety of The Entrance, which is enjoyed by recreational and commercial users throughout the year,” Mr MacDonald said.

“The project will involve the removal of around 60,000 cubic metres of sand from The Entrance channel, which will then be used to nourish The Entrance North Beach.

“Central Coast Council will also contribute $225,000 to this important work, which is expected to start in the next few months.”

The health of the lakes is vital from a business point of view. They provide a major tourist drawcard and are also the key attraction for homebuyers looking for lakeside views.

The problems of the ailing lakes system are well documented.  The lakes have silted up badly and vast areas once several metres deep are now barely covered by water and are in danger of becoming swampland.

At Chittaway Point. I talked to long term locals who say the water was once deep enough for a planned marina. That same stretch of water is now ankle deep.

The Ourimbah Creek entrance into Tuggerah Lake was once deep enough to allow large motorboats to pass through, but it is now blocked by silt.

The story is the same right across the lakes where the once pristine blue waters and white sands have been replaced by weed, algae and silt.

A major problem is the water flow at the entrance to the system which once featured three deep channels, now largely disappeared. Historic research showed that one key channel flowed along the southern edge of The Entrance but was filled in to form the now popular park.

In 1914, water was once more than seven metres deep just west of the road bridge. The three channels averaged a depth of three metres and much of Tuggerah Lake was five metres deep. You can wade through most of the area today.

The other channels were compromised by the building of the new bridge linking The Entrance with the North Entrance and Toukley.

It is claimed the lakes system was initially compromised generations ago when a second entry at the Lakes Beach was filled in by the building of the road between Toukley and Budgewoi.

Old timers told stories of water flowing in and out of the lake in this area. However, others say the opening is just a myth and happened just once in a massive storm.

But other tales of Tuggerah Lakes are true. Fisherman talk of the days of metre long jewfish and plenty supplies of whiting, flathead, bream and mullet. Prawns were caught all around lake. However there has always been talk of weeds being a problem in the shallow lakes system.

Ferries once linked generations of tourists who arrived at Tuggerah and Wyong stations and then cruised to The Entrance. The lakes suffered badly with the coming of mass settlement in the 1970s and once plentiful jellyfish had virtually disappeared.

The biggest recorded flood was in 1927 when water was so deep it flooded Tuggerah Straight and the area where Chittaway Shopping Centre now stands. Historic photos show the areas cover by water.

“The inlets, lakes, rivers and creeks along the coast are the lifeblood of many communities and the NSW Government is pleased to fund this work to improve waterway safety and access,” Mr Toole said.

“All coastal councils are eligible to apply for up to 50 percent of the cost of dredging projects under the Rescuing Our Waterways program.

“Since 2014, more than $15 million has been invested in dredging projects across NSW to increase boating safety and navigation and ensure the continued enjoyment of our coastal harbors and rivers.”

 Applications for the next round of Rescuing Our Waterways funding will open in April 2018.



Michael Walls
P: 0407 783 413
E: Michael@accessnews.com.au

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