Lake Closed Due to Algae Outbreak for a Second Time In a Year!

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!


Update From Meeting With Council Officials

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.

LHM Committee Response to Councils Letter to Residents

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.

Next Steps.

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.

Mermaid SLSC Highlight the Importance to Maintain LHM for Primary Contact

Lake Hugh Muntz is an important training facility for our Nippers that learn the skills of swimming and board paddling in the Lake.  It is vital our Nippers as young as 7 years old,  begin to develop their confidence in a safe and controlled environment.   For these young kids, learning their skills is dependent on confidence and the flat water of  Lake Hugh Muntz is the best facility we have to help develop this.    Fear of marine life and large waves are not present at Lake Hugh Muntz and our kids have developed their skills here over several years.    This is a rare and valuable asset for all residents which must be protected.

It is the children such as those from Mermaid SLSC and other Surf Life Saving Clubs that are the future of Queensland Life Saving and protect Council Beaches.   I’m sure the Gold Coast Council is serious about protecting our valuable long term asset in Tourism.   If so, the provision and maintenance of a safe facility for our  future Lifesavers to learn their initial skills, is a sound investment.


JAC Mermaid Beach SLSC

Northcliffe Surf Lifesaving Club Breaks the Ice

Despite one of the coldest mornings this year, Northcliffe SLSC hits the water for their regular board/swim sessions.

Its important to “mix it up” with training in both surf and flat water so LHM is ideal. It also provided a sheltered area with the wind blowing early on the coast.

Some of the athletes were still hesitant to put their head under for the first time!

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

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!