Lake Cathie residents woke early on Friday morning to discover an excavator already scraping away the sand berm between the brown tinged lagoon and the sea.
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council contractors set up a perimeter of fencing and began digging around 6.45am on Friday morning (January 8). By 8.09am there was estuary water trickling into the ocean.
There were no bodyboarders riding the waves this time and residents stood several metres away watching the operation.
A council spokeswoman said the scrape operation went as planned.
"The scrape took place over a length of approximately 50m in length and six metres wide to the level of 1.6m to allow the water to drain," she said.
"The works were undertaken to mitigate against the area flooding. Water is draining slowly from the lake and will continue to over the coming days."
Lake Cathie resident and Saving Lake Cathie member Stewart Cooper said the group attended the scraping and had hoped for a wider channel.
"It will be interesting to see how it goes. It has been dribbling out a little deeper and faster as the day has progressed," he said.
"We will know more by tomorrow morning, but from a Saving Lake Cathie perspective we would have preferred to see it made wider and earlier before it got near the flooding level.
"The scraping had to happen because there was flooding into people's backyards, infrastructure and potentially roads. I wouldn't be surprised if the channel scours (widens) over the next few days, but by how much is anyone's guess.
"This would have been a lot easier if we had residents, scientists and council in a planning session to determine the best way forward, rather than this bit of guesswork."
Revive Lake Cathie president Danielle Maltman said the group will continue water testing at Lake Cathie and Lake Innes.
"It's purely a flood mitigation strategy by the council, it's not for recreational purposes," she said.
"It's going to take time for the lake to recover and assure its water quality. We want a balance between the environment and the community.
"It's too early to see any impacts, we will know more after we undertake water testing over the weekend."
Council's coastal management plan (CMP) will play a key role in guiding the future management of the Lake Cathie and Lake Innes estuarine system, after councillors unanimously agreed to support the motion at a December ordinary council meeting.
Resident Anne Lyons and visitor Henry Drury were some of the first people to watch the scraping on Friday morning.
"I was down here and they started unloading the front-end loader at the beach," Henry said.
"We've been coming here for 40 years and the lake has got worse and worse each year," Mrs Lyons said.
"We built a house here and in past years there were families playing on the beach. Then they built that little bridge at Kenwood Drive and that's when the problems started."
The Lake Cathie community is asked to be patient as Port Macquarie-Hastings Council works through the steps towards replacing or augmenting the Kenwood Drive bridge.