Drain Erosion Problems Resolved – Bel Air Park

The care group raised concern with Council over erosion of soil surrounding the drain in Bel Air Park. With trees shading the drain area, a lack of sunlight resulted in poor growing conditions leaving large areas of bare soil.

Gold Coast Council responded with major replanting works to stabilise the area. It was “Murphys Law” that during the restoration, it started raining. This resulted in large amounts of soil being washed down the drain and clearly highlights the need for these works.

soil over drain

The final plantings, once established will be a great asset for the park and offer long term improvements to the water quality of Lake Hugh Muntz by reducing soil runoff into the lake. A big thank you to Parks and Recreation for a job well done!

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Lake Closure Signs Removed

On Wednesday the 29th of March, Council officers removed the lake closure signs relating to the Algae outbreak. With the Care Group receiving no official notification, this cannot be confirmed.

By the look of the state of the lake after the recent downpour, I would be surprised if the lake is currently fit for swimming!

Water is currently flowing in from the canals due to the high water levels and very  brown in colour.

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I would allow at least 3 days for the lake and flood waters to settle before swimming as per councils standard warnings on swimming in any waterways after flooding.

For more information refer to Councils Healthy Waterways Brochure – Link below;

http://lakehughmuntz.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/healthy-waterways-brochure.pdf

 

 

Lake Receives Long Overdue Flushing

With the recent, consistent rainfall, the lake has gone from a very low level to overflowing in just a week!

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The last time the lake reached overflow condition was back in June 2016. The exchange of water is beneficial to water quality and with follow up rain, will hopefully assist in getting the lake open for swimming soon. Considering the brown colour of the water at the beaches and creeks, the lake is surprisingly clear.

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Lake “Flooded” with Lawn Clippings in Recent Rain

With the ongoing dry spell the recent rainfall has resulted in large amounts of lawn clippings and leaf litter washed into the lake. Park drains have become overloaded and blocked by the amount of lawn clippings. The picture  below shows Morialta Lake (park)

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Numerous coves also show the build-up from the clippings that have reached the lake so far with more inflow expected with upcoming rains.

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Street leaf litter baskets have also suffered blockage to the filters by clippings resulting in poor efficiency/blockage. This has resulted in the leaf litter from the streets flowing directly into the lake as well.

Blocked Filter

The Care Group have recommended to council that the parks be mowed with catchers but Councils’ reply was that it is cost prohibitive.

It is important the residents do not dump lawn clippings in Parks and continue to mow the nature strip and other lawn areas so we don’t add to the problem. 

Care Group Requests Meeting with Council to Discuss Ongoing Issues

The Care Group has requested a meeting with Council over the recent lake closure and other ongoing issues. We will keep the public updated on responses to our concerns raised in the email to council  below;

Dear Cr Taylor (Paul),

Lake Hugh Muntz – Closure

Thank you sincerely for your letter dated 6th March 2017 in response to the community concern I mentioned in our phone conversation on 23rd February 2017 about the poor health and closure of Lake Hugh Muntz. You outlined what has been achieved to date and the challenges of healthy waterways in the context of a challenging environment.

Subsequent to your letter and regardless of current algal bloom events in the lake, prudence and risk mitigation are necessary to protect this high-value community asset.

As representatives of the Lake Hugh Muntz Care Group and more broadly the local community, we seek a formal meeting with you and key representatives of the City of Gold Coast Council, including in the areas of public works, public health, asset management, sport and recreation and environmental science, to discuss a range of matters pertaining to the lake including:

  1. Asset environmental data and analysis transparency: What information/data and analysis is available to the CoGC/Council and the broader community to assist all parties in gaining an improved understanding of the environmental causes and consequences of the lake’s environmental condition?
  2. Asset management strategic plan: Does the CoGC/Council have a strategic plan for the environmental management of the lake? Assuming a plan exists, how does the CoGC understand the current environmental problem impacting the lake and how does the CoGC in turn plan to address the current environmental and health related status of the lake as part of this strategy?
  3. Community engagement: How does the CoGC plan to engage the community in consultation regarding any planned actions regarding the lake’s environmental restoration?

Our request is for a meeting to be scheduled with the relevant CoGC and Council representatives within the fortnight. In the interests of openness and transparency, our intention is that the minutes of this meeting would be published on a public forum accessible to the broader community.

Time is of the essence. We are formalising our focus and strategy with respect to ensuring Lake Hugh Muntz is a prized public asset. We have determined to work with a wide range of stakeholders and we have sought considered opinion and expertise to help you, CoGC and Council representatives represent and protect the interests of the lake.  Our renewed activities are focussed on:

  • the environmental condition of the lake;
  • the circumstances pertaining to it’s closure;
  • ways of expanding its public use and amenity through consistent, reliable water quality that the public can trust;
  • optimal solutions to restore on a sustainable basis the environmental condition and performance of the lake; and
  • all available future courses of action which the community should be supporting and prosecuting with CoGC and the Council to ensure the environmental sustainability of this important community asset.

The Lake Hugh Muntz Care Group would be grateful for a formal response by COB Tuesday 21st March (Harmony Day) with suggested dates and times for a meeting with two or three Care Group members.

We look forward to your response at the earliest convenience.

Lake Closed Due to Algae Outbreak

Gold Coast City Council have closed the lake due to an algae outbreak. The last time the lake was closed was back in 2011 for bacterial concerns after heavy rains. The last known algae outbreak was in April 2006 and high readings in December 2007.

It is disappointing that improvements including Leaf Litter Drain Baskets and Floating Reed Beds to reduce the nutrient levels have not resulted in maintaining the lake in a healthy condition. The current extraordinary weather conditions of long term lack of rain coupled with high temperatures may have  been the trigger for this outbreak.

The Care Group are awaiting water quality results for last year and will be requesting analysis of the current situation to see how this closure can be prevented in the future. These results will be communicated via a Care Group Newsletter as soon as the information is received.

See below for the Official Council Statement;

The City of Gold Coast has closed Lake Hugh Muntz due to the presence of high levels of blue-green algae.

The algal bloom was detected by the City and in conjunction with the Gold Coast Public Health Unit, has taken the step to shut the lake to swimming.

As you’re aware algal bloom outbreaks can occur naturally in the city’s lake systems, especially in the summer months. They are usually due to a combination of changes to outside temperature and water turnover.

Regular users of the lake have been contacted and signage has been placed at public access areas. Residents have been notified to avoid contact with the water. This includes keeping pets away.

Blue-green algae is a type of cyanobacteria that has characteristics of algae and bacteria. Under certain environmental conditions, blue-green algae concentrations in water can rapidly increase and form visible blooms or ‘scums’.

Not all blue-green algae is toxic and species that are toxic do not always produce toxins. However, in order to minimise risk it is requested that residents refrain from:

  • consuming seafood such as fish
  • water contact with skin
  • allowing animals to enter the lake or drink the water; and
  • irrigating with lake waterThe City will continue to monitor the water and communicate with residents when water quality recovers.In the meantime, residents should direct their enquiries to 1300 465 326.

Regards: Paul Taylor.

 

 

 

 

 

Surface Weed Growth – Lake Hugh Muntz

Surface areas of weed have been noticed growing in several areas around the lake. The exact cause of the growth has not been determined but could be contributed to the very warm water temperature coupled with the lack of rainfall/ flushing of the lake providing an ideal growing environment.

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The plant has been identified as the Prickly Water Nymph. It is a native and is beneficial to the lake water quality as plants take up nutrients which are in excess in water tests carried out over several years.

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With bird life foraging on the growth as well as the weak stem of the plant, build up of loose material is being washed ashore.

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Council will be routinely cleaning the beach areas to remove  build-up over the coming days. Currently the limited growth of the plant does not warrant mechanical harvesting of open water areas.

5th Lake Hugh Muntz. Clean-Up Day Completed

Another Clean-up day completed but under difficult conditions. The strong windy conditions made it hard as well as the poor attendance. It is disappointing that not only a handful of the 120 waterfront residents bothered to turn up, but also disappointing that each year we have to return to the same properties to remove a years collection of Palm Fronds and weeds from the back of their properties.

It just highlights the dedication of a small group of residents that turn up year after year to clean up other residents “back yards”

Despite the above difficulties, 2 large bins were filled to the brim as a result of this hard working group.

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Every year we see improvements in water and shoreline quality but have to ask “can we continue without the support of residents”

A BIG thank you to Raine and Horne Mermaid who supported the local community and the event by setting up and suppling all the food and drinks. This was a great help as the last thing that tired volunteers want to do it setup the BBQ, cook and pack up after a very hard morning.

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Check out the photos below!

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The 5th Annual Lake Clean-up Day is On Again!

Every year an amazing amount of rubbish is removed from the lake and surrounding foreshores highlighting the need to do this on a regular basis. Getting the lake clean is by no means and easy job so WE NEED YOUR HELP!

It would be great if we could get as many residents as possible to help and give the lake a “Spring Clean” just in time for the swimming season.

The clean-up day is planned for Sunday the 9th of October at 900 am followed by a free sausage sizzle around 1200pm. If you cannot make the clean-up feel free to catch up with your neighbours at the BBQ afterwards.

The meeting place will be in Morialta Park off Wild Duck Drive. Location marked X in the map below. See the events tab on the website for full details.

See you there!

Clean Locatio

Care Group Meeting with Council

The Lake Hugh Muntz Care Group recently organised a meeting between key stakeholders of the lake and LHM committee members. It was great to meet personally with the council representatives and discuss issues face to face.

Park Meeting Council

Please see below for a brief summary of discussions.

Issue. Ongoing delays in water quality results.

Discussion. Concern over no ongoing monitoring or analysis of water quality measurements by Council. Would like not only results but analysis of results at least yearly instead the care group providing an unprofessional  summary.

Outcome. Automation of Water Quality Results for Waterways in the Nerang Catchment including LHM is on track to go live by the end of 2016. Results/2016 Summary in January.

Issue. No council plan on the Management of Lake Hugh Muntz.

Discussion. Concern over what next? Is further action required based on recent water quality results?

Outcome. TBA

Issue. Notice Board material not updated.

Discussion. Difficult for officers to drive out to update on a regular basis. Request for a Care Group Member to have access makes a lot of sense as we live in the area. Discussion of possible approval of documents provided they relate to Lake Care/Catchment Management.

Outcome. Care Group Rep can now update with prior approval of material.

Issue. Reed Bed Uneven/ poor growth resulting in poor aesthetics.

Discussion. Possibility of elevated salt levels at times in LHM causing issues with plant growth.

Outcome. New salt tolerant plants currently being grown in nursery and subject to initial testing, will be trialled on LHM reed beds.

Issue. Concern over Litter Basket efficiency.

Discussion. No improvements on baskets and noted that flaps need to open to prevent possible flooding during heavy rain. Baskets cleaned but debris left on top of drains. Can this be cleaned as well?

Outcome. Contractors asked to clean top of drain as well. Some statistics supplied on how much the baskets have collected would be good.

Issue. Park Drain – Bellair Park. Soil constantly being washed into the drain and into the lake.

Discussion. Catchment management advised expensive concrete collection pits not feasible and concern over plantings around drain may not be effective. Committee opinion that like the reed beds and litter baskets there is no perfect solution, but plantings would at least help in reduction and far better than doing nothing.

Outcome. Catchment Management looking into feasibility.

Issue. Water Scum – Concern over health issues with swimmers regularly wading through what appears to be an oil slick.

Discussion. Occurrence may be a natural reaction between decaying matter and algae. Discussion over feasibility of removal and if, as a natural reaction will it just keep reoccurring.

Outcome. Investigation of scum sample to determine origins.

Issue. Removal of floating material that regularly gathers in areas around the lake dependent on wind conditions.

Discussion. Engineering advised that now contractors have been employed to offer more regular maintenance and inspection. Suggestion to include removal of material as part of their duties. Special tolls such as nets or scoops may need to be employed for effective removal.

Outcome. Increased cleaning if notified when material is present.

Issue. Singapore Daisy outbreaks in Private Property.

Discussion. Every year the care group spends a lot of time on the same properties to remove this weed. Can council approach residents in regard to proper maintenance?

Outcome. As Singapore daisy is not currently on the obnoxious weed list, residents cannot be approached.