Central Coast Councillors voted unanimously at the February 11 Ordinary Meeting to set up the 2020 Tuggerah Lakes Restoration Project to cover the whole of the 77sq km of waterway system.
A Notice of Motion from Councillor Greg Best called for council to engage all levels of government in the timely lead-up to the 2019 elections, taking a “whole of lakes” approach through triggering a much needed 2020 Tuggerah Lakes Restoration Project.
Best said it was well past the time for council to lobby the state government to take responsibility and “open their cheque book and give us a rolled gold approval process”.
“Of course this needs to be done expeditiously,” he said.
“There’s a thousand ideas to restore the lakes, but without multi million dollar funding, the issue just keeps getting caught up in a cesspit of bureaucracy, going in circles, and it happens over and over ad nauseum,” Best said
“It is sobering to speak to the community who are outraged that we are now back in this siltation situation again.
“So incensed are some, that they have asked me to consider a name change of Tumbi Creek to a more nautical theme – that of “Ship Creek”.
“As we all know, many a serious word was said in jest,” Best stated in his Motion.
Councillor, Bruce McLachlan, seconded the Motion and said “whichever (political party) puts their hand up to fix the lakes will win the election”.
McLachlan said the public needed to understand that the lakes system was Crown Land, (under the care and control) of the State Government, “so it was no good calling for just the Council to fix it.
“It actually takes money and the political will”.
Best’s Motion also stated that “it has been some 30 years since a major whole of lakes restoration project was undertaken through the then Greiner Government and its Minister for the Environment, Tim Moore’s, $13m restoration allocation.”
“Council recognises that there has been some welcome funding support through State programs such as Rescuing Our Waterways that has provided a total of $425,000 for limited channel dredging works.
“Despite council’s and community volunteer efforts, our lake system continues to struggle under the weight of urbanisation.”
Central Coast Council stated that should appropriate funding opportunities arise, it would undertake the formal application process.
The council stated that it would continue conversations with local, state and federal representatives, as well as appropriate funding bodies, to identify the best opportunities for projects that align with the objectives of the Tuggerah Lakes Estuary Management Plan.
Council has been actively implementing the estuary plan since 2008, and by June, 2020, Council stated that it would have delivered $26.25m of federally funded projects in the estuary.
Agenda Item 6.3, Feb 11
Central Coast Council Ordinary Meeting
Interviews, Feb 15
Media statement, Feb 18
Central Coast Council
Journalist, Sue Murray