Triathlon Australia Highlight the Importance of Lake Hugh Muntz

To Councillor Paul Taylor:

I am writing this letter of support for submission to the local council to please have the issue of the Lake Hugh Munz water quality and its continual care to be reassessed.

I have worked as the Head Coach of Triathlon Australia’s High Performance Centre here on the Gold Coast based at the Australian Institute of Sport at Pizzey Park Mermaid Waters since 2014.

In my time coaching this elite sporting program we have used Lake Hugh Munz at least once a week as a key training venue for open water swimming. The importance to our program using this facility is due to the safety aspect as well the consistency of the water quality in all weather conditions. Allowing us to swim there every week of the year if needed.

Last year at the Rio Olympics and Paralympics we had 5 athletes that represented Australia that utilised the Lake as a training venue in the lead up to the world’s premier sporting event.

With the Commonwealth Games upon us I am currently giving feedback to countries about the benefits of staying in this area especially with the fact we have a safe open water area to train in the lead up.

Developing nations unlike ourselves need to have water areas that are not in the ocean due to their lack of experience. Please be mindful the Commonwealth Games is the “Friendly Games”!

Using the Lake will allow them every opportunity to learn the skills of open water swimming without the fear of being in the ocean.

Almost every nation that will compete in the triathlon at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games will want to use Lake Hugh Munz which would mean a lot of monetary investment into the local community with accommodation etc. as this is the only fresh water controlled open water swimming space on the Gold Coast that can replicate the demands of competition.

Nations will want to stay close in this area.

We are not the only program using the lake to develop the skills needed to compete at the highest level. Every week I see junior surf athletes from multiple clubs as well as everyday swimmers also using the lake as a safe and controlled environment to learn the skills they then take to the ocean or purely to enjoy keeping fit and active!

So please I ask that you as a local division of government re consider investing into this heavily used open water swimming space. Not only for my program but for the dozens of Gold Coast based open water swimming and craft programs.

Your local community and I love this area and Lake Hugh Munz is a facility that is unique and a normally safe area that people can use at any point to enjoy what we love to do.


Councils Reply to Water Quality Concerns Raised in LHM Newsletter

Please see below the official response for Council.

Clarification of Lake Hugh Muntz Care Group Newsletter

I write to ensure you have the facts regarding Lake Hugh Muntz. These are:

1.    The City has not proposed any reduction in service levels at Lake Hugh Muntz. In fact, the lake already receives a higher level of maintenance and investment when compared to other City-owned lakes and waterways.

2.    The water body is not a designated lake and was designed as a run-off catchment for the stormwater in that residential area, along with general urban run-off. It captures water from at least 16 stormwater drains.

3.    Swimming will still be permitted but like it has always been, this is at the risk of those choosing to swim there. The water body is not patrolled by life savers so the decision to swim is one for individuals to make.

There has been a suggestion that Council should invest more of ratepayers’ funds to improve the water quality. However, to achieve primary recreation water quality, the lake would require filtration or even chlorination. This is not practical for a range of reasons including the fact that the 17 hectare water body has depths up to 12 metres. The volume is equivalent to approximately 282 Olympic sized swimming pools. Unlike a swimming pool, the waterbody is populated by birds, fish and reptiles.

In closing, Council cannot, and won’t be, guaranteeing that the water is always suitable for primary contact. Should a blue/green algae bloom or similar outbreak occur, we will advise the public of these outbreaks and strongly urge visitors to not enter the water.

Likewise, we will advise once the algae bloom or other outbreak has been managed. For more information please contact Mr Colin Bridges (07) 5667 3834.

Regards Paul.

Paul Taylor  MAICD

Councillor for Division 10

Chair Gold Coast Water and Waste Committee

Tel: (07) 5581 6171 Fax: (07) 5581 5294 Coast Mail Centre QLD 9729