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Lake Cathie/Innes Estuarine System Update

Released on: 19 December 2019

Released on: 19 December 2019


A Lake Cathie community stakeholder meeting took place earlier this week, focussed on gaining a common understanding of the status of Council’s application to open the lake, a decision made at the November Council meeting.

The meeting also focused on options in moving forward to ensure the long-term health of the entire Lake Cathie/Lake Innes estuarine system.

Representatives from Revive Lake Cathie, the Lake Cathie Progress Association, the Camden Haven Chamber of Commerce, Mayor Peta Pinson, Member for Port Macquarie Leslie Williams, Council staff, representatives from the Department of Planning, Industry & Environment, Crowns Lands, National Parks and the Soil Conservation Service were in attendance.

It was acknowledged by all present that this is a priority issue for the community, and a complex one which requires all stakeholders to work together to achieve the best outcomes for the community and the estuarine system.

Following the decision to open Lake Cathie to the ocean, Council applied for a short-term licence for this to take place. However, Crown Lands considered Council’s 1995 Environmental Review in support of the licence application to be insufficient in its consideration of current environmental conditions and potential impacts of the proposed activities associated with the application, and required more information before approval can be granted.

Mayor Peta Pinson said that applying to opening the lake during drought conditions was unique, as previous openings have been undertaken to mitigate the potential impacts of flooding.

"The extended drought is one of the factors contributing to the current state of the lake, and as a result additional ecological information needs to be compiled before a licence to open the lake might be received," said Mayor Pinson.

"In the meantime the stakeholder group is investigating alternative opening options and will meet again in the New Year to discuss these."

Whilst options for a potential lake opening are investigated, Council is progressing with the development of a Coastal Management Program for the entire Lake Cathie/Innes estuarine system. This will look at all options for the ongoing future management of the system.

A number of community pop-ups will occur in the new year, providing the community with the opportunity to ask questions, receive an update, and understand the complexities of the Lake Cathie/Innes estuarine system.

Further information on the Lake Cathie/Innes estuarine system is available at pmhc.nsw.gov.au/lakecathie.