Port Macquarie-Hastings Council fails to fund Revive Lake Cathie initiatives in 2019-2020 operational plan

Shrinking waterway: The lake at Kenwood Drive bridge, Lake Cathie is drying up.
Shrinking waterway: The lake at Kenwood Drive bridge, Lake Cathie is drying up.

More conversations will be the next step for Revive Lake Cathie after the council failed to fund any of the group's strategies in its operational plan.

A meeting between Port Macquarie MP Leslie Williams and Revive Lake Cathie is coming up as the group continues its bid to restore the estuary's health.

Port Macquarie-Hastings Council will continue to work with Revive Lake Cathie but has not allocated any funding towards the group's initiatives outlined in a submission to the 2019/20 operational plan.

Revive Lake Cathie president Danielle Maltman said the lack of funding was very disappointing due to the immediate impact for our marine life, their ecosystem and our estuaries.

Very little water on either side of the lake at Kenwood Drive Bridge.

Very little water on either side of the lake at Kenwood Drive Bridge.

"They [council] are going to work with us but it is very disappointing immediate action isn't the result," she told the Port News.

The council will review the Lake Cathie Opening Strategy in consultation with National Parks and Wildlife Service, Office of Environment and Heritage, NSW Fisheries and Department of Industry, and the community including Revive Lake Cathie.

Mrs Maltman supported a strategy review, however, said at no time had Revive Lake Cathie requested the review as part of stage one of the Revive Lake Cathie strategic plan.

She sees greater requirements such as the Kenwood Drive bridge concept plans to improve tidal flows, the reinstatement of NSW Waterwatch and looking at Lake Innes without the consideration of commercial interests.

Lake spotlight: The Revive Lake Cathie submission to the council included a funding request for Kenwood Drive bridge concept designs.

Lake spotlight: The Revive Lake Cathie submission to the council included a funding request for Kenwood Drive bridge concept designs.

Mayor Peta Pinson had wanted the council to investigate dipping into the Strategic Priorities Reserve funds to advance some of the initiatives in the Revive Lake Cathie operational plan submission.

Cr Pinson said the consultation had been so overwhelming.

She said the lake was a real treasure in our region, and as a council it was rightly so they all worked together - the community, stakeholders and the state government - to ensure they made the best of the situation.

The operational plan was adopted without an investigation to dip into the reserve funds.

Cr Justin Levido said the council prided itself on a disciplined approach to the way it dealt with its finances.

The lake is no longer open to the ocean.

The lake is no longer open to the ocean.

Deputy mayor Cr Lisa Intemann said the June 19 council meeting was not the last time money could be spent.

"I would like to consult with the relevant parties before we commit money," she said.

The council started a process in May in a bid to address the crisis facing the ailing waterway of Lake Cathie.

An update report is due to come back to the September council meeting.

Cr Geoff Hawkins said he was very supportive of Revive Lake Cathie but he was trying to do it in a pragmatic way.

The Revive Lake Cathie submission was all about implementation of strategies to halt the significant decline of Lake Innes, Lake Cathie and the Lake Cathie lagoon ecosystems, waterways and catchment.

The council meeting heard from Danielle Maltman, Stewart Cooper and Cara Dale from Revive Lake Cathie.

Meanwhile, Port Macquarie MP Leslie Williams said her meeting with Revive Lake Cathie would include discussion about what the group saw as priorities.

Mrs Williams said subject to those discussions, she would met with the council and ask if in their capacity as trust manager, there was anything they felt they needed from the state government to support them in that role.

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