Lake Now Into 5th Month of Closure!

It has now been 5 long months that LHM has been unavailable to the public due to ongoing Algae blooms. The lake closed in mid January in the peak of the swimming season despite the application of Phoslock. While the levels are reducing, algal scum is still present along foreshore areas representing a continuing health hazard.

As we head into our 4th year of unprecedented consecutive closures, time is running out to implement effective treatment to prevent another algae outbreak and prevent even further damage to a lake that is in critically poor condition.

Unbelievably there is still NO plan.

Latest Graph Courtesy of GCCC.

 

Care Group Meeting With Council

THE LHM Care Group requested a meeting with Council to discuss ongoing issues with LHM and to get a update on progress. The meeting was held last week with the following key points:

  • LHMCG has accepted NEW terms of reference and will now attend the stakeholder group and as such will receive further updates and results through this group.
  • Another Griffith Report updated with Phoslock Trial Results released soon.
  • Next stakeholder group meeting is August 5th where Griffith will present their findings of their report in more readable format.
  • Methodologies and proposed aerator solutions will be forwarded to Griffith and analysed for their feasibility and discussed in stakeholder meeting in August.
  • Phoslock results and analysis will be a main focus of Griffith’s new report.
  • Aerators were not presented as a solution in Griffith’s report. Issues with implementing aerators when algae is not controlled.
  • Key Griffith recommendation Hydrogen Peroxide not Approved.
  • Disagreement over the impact of salt water on the lake from canal. Whether it is beneficial or harmful to lake overall.
  • Disagreement over value of lake. Council view as borrow pit for storm water, Care Group views as unique valuable community asset.

Please review full Meeting notes below;

Meeting Notes 31/05/19.

Lake Users Continue to Risk Health

Despite the lake being closed, users continue to risk their health by ignoring Council warnings. Large numbers participating in triathlon training regularly use the lake weekly as seen by the recent photo. The continued use highlights the lack of suitable training venues for triathlons. It also highlights the importance of Lake Hugh Muntz to the local community and the urgent need for a plan to return the lake to primary “swimming” contact.

Latest Water Quality Update

The latest water quality results have been released with the updated graph below. After nearly 3 months of closure and the continuing cooler weather, there is still no clear downward trend and no sign of the lake opening in the near future!

Is Salt Water Killing Lake Hugh Muntz?

The Care Group have requested Council to investigate the loss of all underwater aquatic plants from the shoreline about 1 year ago. Why?

THERE CAN BE NO LAKE RECOVERY WITHOUT AQUATIC VEGETATION!

In 2013,  a similar loss of all aquatic plants raised concern over the deteriorating condition of the lake. Council was then asked to investigate with no advice received on what was causing the problem.

The aquatic vegetation slowly returned but struggled to grow until the recent loss. It is no coincidence the decline in vegetation is an important factor in the decline in water quality. If Council are serious about turning around the decline, they have to include aquatic plant recovery in any plan.

 

Ongoing Concern Over Terms and Conditions

Please see response from Paul Taylor and our reply below;

Care Group Reply.

Hi Paul,

Thank your for your email. In response to your statement highlighted red in your reply;

  • Our records show WE NEVER RECEIVED AN AGENDA! Could you please confirm this is correct.
  • In an email the Care Group received it stated “please review the Terms of Reference for the LHMSG (attached) and please respond confirming your acceptance stating your groups representative by return email by 6th March 2019.

Clearly there was no opportunity to seek clarification at the meeting as a condition of attending the meeting was to accept the terms!

The Care Group would like to request a meeting with Council to clarify terms.

As we have not met with Council since June 2018, it would be a great opportunity to get some updates on lake issues including;

Progress on Phoslock Trial.

Progress on field trials of Hydrogen Peroxide.

Update on our request for investigation on loss of all aquatic plants along shoreline.

Lake Health Water Quality Updates. We have no updates since March Last year!

 

Paul Taylors Response.

Thank you for your email in regard to the Lake Hugh Muntz Stakeholder Group (LHMSG) and in particular the concerns you raised about the associated Terms of Reference.

Let me say from the outset there has never been any intention to supplant or sideline your Care Group which performs an important and valuable role in the community.

Rather, this new stakeholder group was created as a collaborative forum involving the City, the Lake Hugh Muntz Care Group, known user groups and external research bodies to facilitate an open and transparent exchange of information between these groups.

Additionally, it was envisaged the LHMSG initiative would provide an opportunity for a number of community groups interested in Lake Hugh Muntz to learn more about the characteristics of the lake and the way the lake responds to varying environmental conditions.

Given the proposal was to conduct meetings biannually, ongoing management updates from the City in relation to work or initiatives completed in the past six months and any relevant proposed works and initiatives to be undertaken in the coming six months would also be discussed.

In instances where stakeholder groups are established, the usual course of action is for a Terms of Reference (TOR) document to be prepared by the City. TORs provide guidance and working arrangements around agreed roles and functions of all parties involved.

One of the aims of the TOR was to ensure any proposed outgoing key messages relating to the LHMSG were accurate, taking into consideration the overall discussion undertaken at stakeholder level. As all stakeholders contribute during the meeting, this was to ensure any messaging reflected discussions or proposed actions minuted at the meeting.

As you’re aware, a copy of the TOR was distributed to all LHMSG representatives affording sufficient time for the document to be considered prior to discussion at the first meeting held earlier this week. The TOR was one of the items listed on the meeting agenda enabling all representatives in attendance to provide comment or seek clarification on any sections of the TOR. In light of the concerns raised by the Care Group, the TOR will be listed for further discussion at the next LHMSG meeting.

In addition to the above, I understand City officers have been in regular contact with you with a view to encouraging the group’s involvement in this initiative which has been designed to provide an overall benefit for the future management of the lake.

From feedback provided by stakeholder groups in attendance, the first LHMSG meeting was very well received.

Taking the above into consideration, it was unfortunate the Lake Hugh Muntz Care Group was not represented at the meeting. I am hopeful the Group’s previous decision will be reconsidered and look forward to your attendance at future meetings.

If you have any further enquiries in this regard, Steven McVeigh (5667 3893) the City’s Senior Environmental Engineer Lakes and Waterways, would be happy to assist

Catchment Management Issues – Parks

Unfortunately due to the Care Group lockout of Council Meeting due to terms and conditions we were unable to present a video on park issues for comment at the recent meeting with Park Officials.

The Care Group have requested Councils review on problems highlighted in the video below to ensure effective measures are taken to reduce runoff into the lake and that the current works in parks cover these problems.

ISSUES

  • Unsuitable Planting. Past attempts at covering bare soil have largely been unsuccessful – it is pointless returfing where growing conditions are unsuitable or where the grass will not survive dry weather. Plants offer a better solution.

 

  • Fixed Schedule Mowing. Mowing contracted on a regular schedule quite often results in lawn being cut while suffering in drought conditions – the lawn is effectively “mowed to death” increasing bare patches. Mowing should be conducted on an as needed basis.
  • Mowing With No Catcher. This results in clippings washed directly into the lake as well as clogging drain filters. Mowing with catcher has 2 advantages; Reduction in waste washing into the lake and removal of nutrients (locked up in lawn clippings) from the catchment area. Residents remove tons of garden waste every month via the green waste bins.

 

 

 

 

 

POSSIBLE TRIAL?

If mowing the whole area of parks with a catcher is cost prohibitive, then leave a strip of lawn adjacent to lake unmowed to act as a barrier to filter runoff. The smaller area can then be mowed with a catcher depending on growth to remove clippings AND collected material. This process could also be used in parks to filter runoff to roads as well and to aid in water retention.

Property Value Impact from Ongoing Decline in Water Quality

Many residents have shown concern over the effect on property prices as a result of the ongoing decline in water quality. The lake is now experiencing its third consecutive closure through the peak use summer season which is unpreceded.

While it is difficult to determine how much, with so many homeowners directly affected, the overall losses are quite substantial.

For example, if waterfront properties declined 100k, this represents a loss of 11.2 million out of the pockets of waterfront owners. This does NOT include the flow on effect to the many surrounding properties!

With no plan by Council to turn around the ongoing decline, prospective buyers have no confidence in purchasing around the lake.

Please review the advice below from a local respected real estate agent on the current market in the area.

As discussed over the past 15 years that I have been selling Real Estate in the area properties around Lake Hugh Muntz have always been a highly sought after as the lake has previously offered a safe environment for water activities.  I have had numerous previous buyers sell ocean access canal properties to relocate to the Lake.

Given the declining condition of the Lake I have spoken to several property owners who are now reluctant to sell as they feel the lake being closed for primary contact will have a negative impact on their property value.

In my professional opinion, should the Lake no longer be suitable for primary contact or continue to remain closed for extended periods, the desirability of Lake Front properties to potential property buyers would significantly decrease thus having a negative impact on sale prices.

Important Notice To Lake Hugh Muntz Residents & Users

Care Group Locked out of Council Lake Community Meeting

Your Immediate Action Is Required

Gold Coast City Council have established a new group to represent Lake Hugh Muntz. The New Group titled the Lake Hugh Muntz Stakeholders Group (LHMSG) is CONTROLLED BY GOLD COAST CITY COUNCIL and is designed to restrict the information that it is distributed to the residents and user groups of Lake Hugh Muntz.

To be a part of this group, you have to agree to restrictive conditions – any communications from the meetings has to be approved by Council!

LHM Care Group IS THE COMMUNITY GROUP, originally setup BY GOLD COAST CITY COUNCIL and attended by residents and key user groups. We have been facilitating the exchange of information between Council, residents and key groups for more than seven years. We are transparent, we do not censor the information we receive. The Community has a right to know what is going on with Lake Hugh Muntz, good and BAD!

The LHM Care Group has asked Council to remove the restrictive terms and conditions and Council have refused.

Lake Hugh Muntz Care Group HAVE BEEN FORCED TO DECLINE the first meeting of the ‘new group’ scheduled for Monday, 25 March 2019.

What does this mean for residents and users of Lake Hugh Muntz? If Gold Coast City Council is successful in setting up this new group, you will no longer have a say in what happens to Lake Hugh Muntz. All information published about the lake will be highly censored; the community will no longer have a voice.

By Council imposing these restrictions, Council are STOPPING FREEDOM OF SPEECH, a fundamental right of all Australians including the care group!

If you care about Lake Hugh Muntz. You must take action now!

Be heard and have a voice now while you can.

Call and Email-  our elected representative, tell him;

  1. You do not recognise this ‘new stakeholders group’;
  2. Demand that the Lake Hugh Muntz Care Group be present at all Council meetings concerning Lake Hugh Muntz.
  3. Demand that the censoring of information about Lake Hugh Muntz be removed from these meetings!

Paul Taylor. Division 10 Councillor. Ph 07 5581 6171 division10@goldcoast.qld.gov.au

Please see “Complaint Letter” to Paul Taylor.

Please see detailed email requesting “Removal of Conditions Highlighting Concerns”

Please review  “Restrictive Terms and Conditions”