Lake Cathie closes to ocean one week out of school holidays

Lake Cathie closed to the ocean: This photo was taken by Jarrad Lawless on September 18 at about 11am.
Lake Cathie closed to the ocean: This photo was taken by Jarrad Lawless on September 18 at about 11am.

A Lake Cathie business owner is concerned about the impact of the lake being closed to the ocean during the holiday period. 

“I definitely think it will be less busy here,” Caramels@Cathie owner Simon Collins said. 

“When the lake is closed to the ocean it changes colour and starts to smell.”

Mr Collins said it is unlikely the lake will reopen before the holiday period as he said not enough rain will fall to result in action. 

Under the Port Macquarie-Hastings Council strategy the lake will only be opened when the lake height reaches 1.6m Australian Height Datum (AHD), there is poor water quality or when high lake levels threaten breeding cycles of critical habitat.

The Opening Strategy was initiated by the Lake Cathie-Lake Innes Estuary Management Plan developed by the Lake Cathie-Bonny Hills Estuary Management Committee (now the Hastings LGA Coast and Estuaries Sub-Committee).

A council spokesperson said the strategy aims to provide maximum benefits to the community while minimising siltation, ensuring high water quality and minimising environmental impact.

Artificial openings have occurred at the lake on average once every 12 months. An artificial opening is when council dredges the sand between the lake and the ocean with an excavator.

Mr Collins said he would like the council’s strategy to be reviewed. 

“Especially now considering the area is growing so much,” he said. 

Jarrad Lawless lives in Port Macquarie but said he spends a lot of time at Lake Cathie whenever it is open to the ocean. 

“I believe council could mostly resolve the issue of Lake Cathie closing up by replacing both bridges,” he said. 

“Ocean Drive should be 100 metres longer and Kenwood Drive should be 30 metres.”

Meanwhile Port Macquarie-Hastings Council has lodged a Crown Licence application to undertake emergency dredging works at Lake Cathie, dependent on funding. 

For more information about on the Port Macquarie-Hastings Council lake strategy please visit http://www.pmhc.nsw.gov.au/

Lake Cathie closed to the ocean: This photo was taken by Jarrad Lawless on September 18 at about 11am.

Lake Cathie closed to the ocean: This photo was taken by Jarrad Lawless on September 18 at about 11am.