Visitors to the Lake Cathie Foreshore Reserve say they have been turned off swimming due to the colour of the water.
Tegan Everingham from Port Macquarie and Adam Jones from Newcastle were at the reserve on January 1 for a picnic.
Tegan said she wouldn’t swim in the water at the moment.
“It’s a little bit off-putting because of the colour,” she said.
Adam said the colour is due to the run-off from Tea Trees from Lake Innes.
“I know it’s not dirty water,” he said.
“It would put a lot of people off I think.”
Adam and Tegan said more people would be at the Lake Cathie reserve if the water was clear and pristine.
Adam said if the lake remains closed to the ocean for too long it can start to smell.
“It’s not washing out,” he said.
Adam would like to see Port Macquarie-Hastings Council act to artificially open the foreshore reserve to the ocean.
“I’ve been saying it for years,” he said.
“My mum and grandfather live just up the road and I’ve been coming here since I was very young.
“They could do something to try and keep it open.
“It would be a lot better for tourists especially with a small town like this, as it relies on tourism.”
Jess Sims grew up in Lake Cathie but she now lives in Heatherbrae.
Jess said she noticed people weren’t swimming in the water when she visited on January 1.
“Usually when it’s open (to the ocean) it’s quite a nice colour but when it’s closed it goes a murky brown which isn’t very appealing,” she said.
Under the Port Macquarie-Hastings Council strategy for managing the lake, it 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).
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.