EQUIPMENT has arrived on site for the start of Lake Cathie dredging works.
The works are locked in for Monday, May 21.
The Lake Cathie Progress Association has welcomed the work which is expected to take about seven weeks to complete
Association president Vern Warner said residents, and particularly businesses, had been waiting for the work to begin.
"It is great that it is about to start," he said. "We have been waiting some time for this to happen.
"Once the dredging occurs and the sand is relocated and stabilised, hopefully the lake can be opened up again.
"We really do need that dredging to take place."
Council says the dredging will address the build-up of sand in the main channel of the lake, and ensure the lake is safe, healthy and able to be enjoyed by all.
Some 21,000 cubic metres of sand will be dredged, and relocated to the edge of Foreshore Reserve to reclaim open space that has been lost to erosion in recent years.
Sand will also be relocated for beach replenishment along approximately 400 metres of the beach, fronting Illaroo Road.
In late 2017, council applied to the NSW government for approval to dredge Lake Cathie, east of Ocean Drive, and in January 2018 funding of $175,000 was secured to complete the dredging.
Council then completed a detailed environmental review to ensure minimal harm to the environment. $175,000 will also be contributed by council to undertake the $350,000 program of work.
Council’s appointed contractor, National Dredging Solutions, will complete the works.
There will be a week of preparation so that the dredging machinery and equipment can be carefully positioned, and during this preparation stage, sections of the Foreshore Reserve car park will be closed to ensure public safety, said acting director Dan Croft.
“Lake Cathie is an extremely sensitive environmental area, and it’s great that dredging can finally get underway now we have all the required approvals and appointed a dredging contractor,” he said.
“It has been a long process to secure an appropriate contractor to complete the work and to ensure that all the necessary licences and approvals from the various different government departments and agencies were in order.
“The lake is an iconic community space, and protecting it for future generations is of the highest priority,” Mr Croft said.
The current lake level is close to the normal opening trigger level but while the dredging works are underway, and for a short period afterwards, the lake needs to remain closed.
Council will keep a close eye on the water level and be monitoring the lake closely, however if a lot of rainfall is received in the near future, dredging may need to cease, and the lake may need to be opened.
The community is still able to use the lake during dredging, however to ensure public safety, access to certain areas may be restricted. The community are asked to obey all signage and exercise caution.
“The amount of sand to be moved equates to filling around eight and a half Olympic swimming pools, so we appreciate the community’s patience and care around the site,” Mr Croft added.