The decision by Council not to allocate any funds to LHM as well as the downgrading of the lake to Secondary (no- Swimming) contact has residents and user groups up in arms! With the lack of communication from Council and the continued decline of water quality it is only a matter of time before the lake is closed Permanently!
Out of desperation, concerned residents have organised a protest and invited Channel 9 to film the event.
Despite only 1 days notice, over one hundred residents and user group representatives descended on Bel-air park to have their very angry voices heard.
The story should be live to air this Friday the 16th March on the 4 pm and the 530 pm news but check the program guide to confirm.
You will also be able to access the story on Channel 9’s facebook page.
LAKE IN CRISIS – WE NEED YOUR HELP!
For the second year in a row, Lake Hugh Muntz was closed this summer for high levels of algae!
In the 35-year history of this swimming lake, these consecutive closures are unprecedented with the last recorded algae outbreak before 2016/17 and 2017/18 closures way back in 2006!
Enquiries with council revealed that prior to the second closure, algae levels remained in the orange warning zone for an extended period. Clearly two consecutive closures highlight the poor condition of the lake and the inability to recover.
Will the Lake be Closed Next Year?
YES! The conditions in the lead up to the second algae outbreak were not unusual: A normal spring leading into a warm summer with the lake level relatively high for this time of year. The lake went into the Red/Closed level in December well before the hottest part of the season. It has NO capacity to survive the hottest month of the year, January or beyond into February for next year and subsequent years! Only in cooler, wetter months can the lake gasp for life.
Council Blame Environmental Conditions!
Prolonged hot weather was determined by council as the main environmental cause of the first outbreak. But why have other lakes not suffered under the same environmental conditions? Practically within walking distance of Lake Hugh Muntz is another freshwater lake with many similarities. Like LHM, West Lake in Robina is in a highly urbanised area, has drains from surrounding streets flowing into the lake and receives minimal flushing. Reed beds are installed as well as gully baskets to some of the drains. This lake also has several aerators installed. This lake has not suffered from any algae blooms over recent times with far better water quality than LHM.
A striking comparison of the two lakes in the images recently taken below highlights the appalling state of LHM.
Lake Hugh Muntz 7/1/18
West Lake 9/1/18
Why No Aerator or Other Solutions Investigated in LHM?
As an example of other solutions in use, West Lake and Robina Lakes have an extensive installation of Aerators. Aerators increase diffused oxygen in the water, which in turn supports and encourages the growth of beneficial aerobic bacteria. These beneficial bacteria break down organic matter and consume excess nutrients which helps to balance and improve water quality and reduce algae blooms.
What is Council Hiding?
The Care Group requested water quality results over 7 months ago after the initial algae outbreak. Previously, Council have provided results but now refuse our requests. Out of desperation, we have requested information under the “Right to Information Act 2009.” Under the circumstances, we have no confidence in Council providing an unbiased report on the ongoing condition of the lake. In the light of NO explanation by Council we are raising funds to seek an independent analysis.
Lake Now Toxic!
Algae danger levels are measured in several ways. By the number of algae cells per volume of water and by the percentage of toxins in a volume. Council advice indicated the lake is now in the red from excessive toxin levels.
How Much is Your Property Worth Now?
For the broader LHM community who paid a premium choosing to live near and enjoy an environmentally healthy freshwater lake, look at the comparison photos of LHM vs a healthy lake and ask the question “how much has your property value declined and why should you pay for Council’s mismanagement?”
- LHM has suffered from 20 years of excessive nutrients under Council’s mismanagement.
- After 10 yrs of increasing nutrients, the LHM Management Plan was released in 2008. The stated brief: To achieve a healthy and aesthetically valuable environment, indicative of a freshwater lake system in a sub-tropical setting.
- The implementation of the LHM Management Plan to maintain a healthy lake was largely ignored.
Council’s Non-Plan to Reverse the Decline.
There has NEVER been a plan to implement the Council Approved management plan! The Care Group’s numerous requests for a “plan” were ignored. Improvements were only the result of resident complaints and the determination of the Care Group to get some progress.
Main Solutions implemented that could have a measurable effect on nutrients;
- 15 years into the decline – trial of reed beds – no measureable improvement.
- 17 years into the decline – Drain baskets fitted – Poor results, secondary treatment catchment required.
Too little too late! These solutions alone were NEVER going to turn around the decline!
So What are Council Doing in This Crisis?
In a meeting with Council one year ago (in March 2017), Cr Taylor and Council officers advised:
- NO further funds are available to spend on LHM.
- They will not be changing maintenance – the same level that has proven to be inadequate.
- They were downgrading the lake status from primary contact (swimming) to secondary (no swimming).
The ongoing closures are a disaster for the health of the lake as well as the community who regularly use this public asset. The dependency on this lake for users and local clubs is highlighted by the fact that many are still swimming in the lake despite the risk to their health – for some users, there are no other suitable training areas available! Ongoing lake health issues need to be addressed URGENTLY!
Council Have Signed a “Death Sentence” for LHM!
YOUR URGENT ACTION REQUIRED!
WE NEED YOUR HELP!
STEP 1. COULD YOU PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION ON OUR WEBSITE THAT STATES;
- That Council formally classifies the designation of the lake (set out in the Lake Management Plan 2008) to be a PRIMARY CONTACT water body and suitable for swimming and related recreational activities at the request, and for the benefit, of the local community; AND
- Council seriously and expeditiously investigates all available technical solutions to returning the lake on a sustainable basis to pre-2007 water quality levels to enable reliable use as a PRIMARY CONTACT water body.
STEP 2. COULD YOU PLEASE SHARE THE WEBSITE AND FACEBOOK PAGE WITH YOUR CONTACTS to get as many signatures on the petition as possible and spread the word on the possible Death of Lake Hugh Muntz!
STEP 3. COULD YOU PLEASE COMPLAIN AND COMPLAIN LOUDLY TO THE DECISION MAKERS BELOW on the points above including;
- Why has Council, the asset owner, let this unique freshwater lake deteriorate to such a poor condition?
- Why the Management Plan was not implemented in full?
- Why Council have no plans to rectify the ongoing decline?
Darren Ford. Coordinator Lakes and Waterways
Ph 07 5667-3875 Email: email@example.com
Paul Taylor. Division 10 Councillor
Ph 07 5581-6171 Email: Division10@goldcoast.qld.gov.au
JOIN FACEBOOK SAVE LAKE HUGH MUNTZ
Out of desperation, the Care Group have requested the release of water quality results from Council using the Freedom of Information Act. Not that we need results to know that the lake is in bad condition, but the results may reveal HOW bad!
This action had to be taken after waiting 7 long months for results with no reason given!
Lets hope this is successful.
I have just received an update from Council on the condition of LHM. This council managed asset has now been closed for 1 month with on the latest tests indicating that the Algae levels are still increasing. The lake will remain closed for the foreseeable future until the levels decline.
With the possibility of increased toxins with the ongoing decline, it is important THAT YOU DO NOT SWIM IN THE LAKE!
In July last year, the Care Group in discussions with Council requested water quality results to determine the extent of degradation and trends. This was in response to the poor lake condition after the first Algae outbreak.
Despite after 6 months and numerous emails and phone calls, water quality results and summary of lake condition have not been supplied. With the latest outbreak, requests for water quality updates on Algae have also not been provided. The Care Group planned to update users on algae trending so we have an idea how long the lake will be closed during this high use period.
With the ongoing poor condition of the lake, residents and users need to know the “facts” on the ongoing degradation of this Council Managed Asset.
Within walking distance of LHM is another freshwater lake. This lake is in a similar environment in a highly built up area, street drains running into lake and minimal flushing.
When comparing the recent images below, the question has to be asked “Why has our lake been left to deteriorate to this condition”
Today members of the committee met with our Local Member of Parliament Ray Stevens to raise the issues of ongoing decline in water quality in LHM.
Ray will be looking into the situation and will offer any help where he can.
Many thanks to Ray for spending his valuable time to listen to the community.
For the second time in 2017, Lake Hugh Muntz has been closed for high levels of Algae!
In the 35 year history of this swimming lake, these closures are unprecedented with the last recorded algae outbreak way back in 2006!
The lake closure could not of come at a worse time, with many users looking forward using the lake during the hot summer months, not to mention disruption to Vital Commonwealth games triathlon training.
Based on the outbreak earlier in the year, the closure could be for several months. The Care group have asked for regular updates on readings and will update users.
The Care Group are still waiting for water quality results requested back in July to determine lake trends and will advise when received. The extent of the outbreak can be seen in the photo below with the whole lake turning a green colour!
An informal meeting was held with Councils Engineering and Catchment Management officials last week to discuss ongoing issues relating to LHM. It became very clear that before we can progress with discussions on Primary Contact, Water Quality etc, that long term analysis of collected water quality data is required. It was agreed by Council to provide the results but there will be some delay as the data will have to be manually produced. The Care Group will advise on results when received.
To Concerned Lake Hugh Muntz Community Residents and User Groups
Response to Councillor Taylor’s Letter (29/06/17) to Residents
about the Lake Hugh Muntz Care Group (Care Group) Newsletter.
What is in dispute.
Councillor Taylor has confirmed in his letter that Council is not prepared to maintain Lake Hugh Muntz as a “PRIMARY CONTACT” recreation water quality and argued that to achieve this level of water quality would “require filtration or chlorination” to achieve “PRIMARY CONTACT” status and that this “is not practical for a range of reasons”.
To be clear, the Care Group – with its substantial community of supporters including many regional surf life saving clubs, sporting clubs and community organisations – does not accept either Council’s or Councillor Taylor’s view and intent that Lake Hugh Muntz should not and cannot, for practical reasons, be maintained substantially as a “PRIMARY CONTACT” water body.
Because the lake is such an important primary use community asset, the Care Group and the community are of the single minded view that the objective of Council must be that LAKE HUGH MUNZ IS MAINTAINED AS A PRIMARY CONTACT WATER ASSET FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE COMMUNITY.
Further, the Care Group has received independent expert advice that there are technical solutions available other than chlorination or filtration that could – with appropriate Council support – be considered to improve and potentially restore the water quality of the lake to pre 2007 levels.
The Care Group and key user group representatives will be seeking an urgent meeting with Council in August to request that;
- Council formally classifies the designation of the lake (set out in the Lake Management Plan 2007) to be a PRIMARY CONTACT water body and suitable for swimming and related recreational activities at the request, and for the benefit, of the local community; AND
- Council seriously and expeditiously investigates all available technical solutions to returning the lake on a sustainable basis to be suitable for use as a PRIMARY CONTACT water body.