Dredging works at Lake Cathie is complete and the lake is expected to be artificially opened to the ocean in late July.
About 21,000 cubic metres of sand has been dredged and relocated to the edge of the Foreshore Reserve to reclaim open space that had been lost to erosion.
Sand was also relocated to replenish approximately 400 metres of the beach in front of Illaroo Road.
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council director Melissa Watkins said dredging was completed as per schedule, and all equipment and machinery had now been removed.
“The relocation of that much sand was a huge task, and it has been so important to protect the uniqueness and beauty of such a significant and sensitive environmental area,” she said.
“The lake is such an iconic community space with major community, social and economic benefits, and protecting it for future generations is always our highest priority.
“While dredging has now been completed, some finishing works are still occurring, and as such we’re asking the community to continue to exercise caution and be aware of areas that may be fenced off.”
Ms Watkins said during the dredging the lake level was close to the opening trigger, however it remained closed so that dredging could be successfully completed.
“The lake will remain closed for several more weeks to allow time for the sand to settle.
“Once sufficient settling and establishment has occurred, council will reopen the Lake, with current planning for this to occur late July.
“It is important that the community do not take the lake opening into their own hands, we will let the community know once we have a definite opening date.”
In late 2017, council applied to the NSW Government for approval to dredge Lake Cathie, east of Ocean Drive. 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. Funding of $175,000 will also be contributed by council to undertake the $350,000 program of work.
Ms Watkins said council appreciates the community’s patience and understanding as the dredging took place.
“While it remains an unpredictable natural environment we will soon be able to experience a safe, healthy lake that can be enjoyed by all,” she said.