Update On Meeting with Council and Final Report

Councilor Young has advised that the next LHM Council Meeting will be held on Tuesday 10 November at the Nerang Administration Building at 2pm.

Griffith University experts will present their findings contained within the report to the group enabling questions to be raised and clarified.

A key point was that the report would not be available UNTIL AFTER THE MEETING!

Clearly this is unacceptable! The Care Group cannot understand the rational behind withholding a report from the community.

The Care group planned a public meeting after the release of the report to allow residents and users to raise their concerns to be addressed at the meeting. Without the prior release of the report, no community consultation can take place.

Representatives attending the meeting have to come up with questions “on the spot” without any prior review of the presentation or report. Again, this is unacceptable.

The Care Group request that;

  • The Report and any Presentations be available at least 3 weeks before meeting as has been the case with previously.
  • That the draft meeting agenda be available and that attendees are given the opportunity to add to the agenda.
  • That the general public be allowed to attend the meeting if they so desire – the proposed location has very limited space given social distancing.
  • That adequate time be allowed for discussion. There are numerous questions that remain unanswered from the previous meeting a year ago which is unacceptable.

 

Algae Now Above Closure Level- Still no Reply from Council

The latest algae graph show levels well above closure – after being opened for barely 6 weeks!

Still no reply from Engineering or our Councillor on basic information including;

Why is the report now 3 months overdue, when will the report be released to the public and most importantly when will the recommendations be implemented.

I would again request that concerned users and residents continue to escalate and follow up with Council on action to address the now critical state of the lake.

Below is an example of a letter sent to our Council representative echoing the concerns of the LHM community.

It is with great concern that I write this email due to the declining state of Lake Hugh Muntz and it’s future useability.

I voted for you due to your commitment to this area, the lake and our livelihoods. You once again expressed commitment upon taking power where you represent the community of Division 12, however since then I have been disappointed.

I have been made aware that there has been a lack of information flow on the Lakes action plan and therefore lack of action in solving this matter. I believe you are not responding to calls for information and there is no follow up for many months which is just terrible from a councillor who is our point of contact, our voice.

What is it you are hiding, why not communicate, what action plan do you have? Are you waiting for the problem to get too big and then just give up because it’s too hard?

This is not an issue that will go away and this is an issue that needs attention now. In fact it needed attention many years ago, but was neglected by the council and it seems that this neglect will continue. I know it is a big complicated problem, however time is of the essence which just seems to continue to waste away as does the future prospects of the lake with it.

Please act now, take charge, lead this community and make a lasting difference. Please change my mind and back up the commitment you made to the community that elected you and work towards improving Lake Hugh Muntz to its former glory.

 

Request for Community Involvement in Upcoming Lake Hugh Muntz Stakeholder Group Meeting

Given the many years of research and a keen interest from the local community in the release of the Griffith final report, the Care Group recommend a venue to allow community access and participation in the important discussions relating to recommendations in this report.

The recommendation is that the Albert Community hall or similar be used as the venue due to the close proximity to users and a capacity to provide a COVID safe meeting place.

This Venue was used previously by Council with success on the release of the reed beds.

Lake In Crisis and Heading for Closure- Council Response Unacceptable

With the lake barely open for a month, the latest algae graph indicates the lake is about to close again due to high algae concentrations.

Council and Griffith Uni have been well aware of expected worsening of conditions on the back of record algae levels and the lake deteriorating to the worst conditions ever seen earlier this year!

So what are Council doing in this crisis?

  • We have our Councillor Pauline Young elected to represent the community not even accepting calls from the Care Group or concerned residents, passing inquires off to the dept that has continually failed to address issues.
  • We have the Griffith report now 3 months overdue – no explanation on why this report has not been released or any expected time frame on release. This represents a further delay in getting action to this crisis.
  • We have NO response to any of our many concerns and requests raised in our Care Group Reply to Clr Youngs Letter over two and a half months ago!

The Care Group request that EVERY concerned resident, users and user groups contact our Councillor and the engineering Dept and voice there concern over lack of information and lack of action.

Clr Pauline Young

Ph. 07 5581 6382    Email: Division12@goldcoast.qld.gov.au

Engineering Dept.

Ph 07 5667 3893 Email: lakehughmuntz@goldcoast.qld.gov.au

While raising your concern on the above issues, ask what is happening to Care Group requests contained in the Letter to Clr Young including;

  • Fast tracking Griffith solutions including Phoslock this summer to prevent further decline.
  • What are Clr Youngs  plans to honor election commitments to address long outstanding catchment management issues including grass clippings?
  • Mandatory inclusion of Lake Health in Griffiths investigation not just reduction in algal blooms. Why has something important as Lake health been left out?
  • PROPER investigation into the negative effects of high nutrient floodwater entering the lake and the many advantages of the installation of a one-way valve at the outlet.
  • Action Plan to address the  significant loss of submerged aquatic vegetation which is mandatory in any lake recovery.
  • Action in addressing key issues effecting long term lake health including the severe stratification – What condition would the lake be in for example in10 years if stratification is not addressed?

 

 

 

Care Group Unable to Secure Meeting With Councillor Young

I know many residents and users have been inquiring on the outcome of the meeting with our elected Councillor Pauline Young but unfortunately the Care Group have been unable to secure a meeting. Despite other Councillor’s and Federal representatives performing their duties as normal and meeting with the public, Councillor Young has not been able to meet due to COVID restrictions.

The Care group as a last resort have requested a phone call to discuss ongoing issues an her election commitment, again denied. The reason given was that many statements in our post have previously been addressed therefore Clr Young feels it was not necessary for a special meeting to occur.

Clearly many issues have NOT been addressed, hence we will continue of efforts to meet with our elected representative and advise the public on our progress.

Its Spring Time! Time to NOT Fertilise the Lawn

Just a reminder to go easy on the fertiliser this spring as the last thing the lake needs is more nutrients!

The significant loss of submerged vegetation over many years has resulted in very little take up of nutrients entering the lake. The result is that the majority of these nutrients are now left available for the algae to feed on.

It is no coincidence, that the loss of plants and the resultant deterioration of lake health has coincided with an increase in algal blooms.

Despite the importance of submerged vegetation on lake health, Council currently has no plans to reverse the decline.

Lake Now Open After 7 Months Closure But For How Long?

Council have advised that algae and toxin concentrations have fallen below the Red Alert levels to the Orange level and have opened the lake after nearly 7 months of closure.

Council have updated their website to a traffic light system indicating lake condition and can be accessed through the link below:

Lake Hugh Muntz Water Quality

Unfortunately the graph showing trends in water quality still does not give any indication of the toxin levels that have extended the lake closure for over 3 months or the current level or trends.

We are still waiting on the report from Griffith that was due in July regarding options to reduce blooms.

As we head into the swimming season, on the back of record algae and toxin levels, indicating an even further decline in water quality, the Care Group will be requesting immediate implementation of options in the report.

The Care Group will be planning a public meeting shortly after the release of the report.

Lake Hugh Muntz Updates- Lake Now Closed for 6 Months!

LHM has now been closed for 6 months – half a year! The closure could not have come at a worse time with the lake not being able to be used throughout the whole COVID lockdown period.

  • Algae Graph. Unfortunately the community are still left in the dark over the extent and the trends of the toxic state of the lake with mystery high toxic levels extending the closure. Current graph shows low algae levels for several months. GCCC plan to update algae website to a more user friendly form which the Care Group have requested to include trending of all measurements relating to lake closure.

  • Investigation into Record Algae levels. The care group requested a detailed investigation based on resident observations of the worst condition of the lake in 25 years and significant input of dirty water from the canal. Council have advised that the cause is a combination of significant rainfall and nutrients in-lake being stirred up by the force of water. The care group have requested the data that supports the statement that in-lake nutrients, not the significant high level of nutrients from the canal are responsible for the record algae levels.
  • Care Group Meeting Request with Clr Young. Clr Youngs office advised that Council have not yet lifted certain restrictions regarding meetings with the public at this stage and to make contact in the future.
  • Catchment Management Issues. City Parks officers have been working with Councillor Young and the Lake Hugh Muntz Management Team to develop improvement plans for parks, with some works starting this Quarter.
  • Delay in Report on Management Options. The report into potential management options was due in July but has been delayed while a user friendly summary is produced in conjunction with the full report.
  • Delay in Next LHMSG Meeting. It was 6 months since the Lake Hugh Muntz Stakeholder Group and interested individuals met at Council Chambers. With the current COVID restrictions, Council advises that it is difficult to conduct meetings involving large groups and will reschedule when safe and appropriate.

 

Councils Objectives Inadequate to Restore Lake

On the back of widespread public concern over inaction addressing 20 years of declining lake health, Council engaged Griffith Uni with the scope to;

Reduce the Occurrence of Algae Blooms. That’s it!

NO objectives for long term lake health, NO scope for investigation into catchment management issues and NO environmental considerations.

The limited scope given to Griffith Uni is not going to provide what the community require and that is a long term improvement in lake health.

In contrast, Councils 2008 management plan objectives were;

To ensure that the lake system is maintained as a healthy and
aesthetically valuable environment, indicative of a freshwater lake
system in a sub tropical environment

lets compare other lakes currently having algae issues, for example,
Forest Lake in Brisbane. Brisbane City Council has invested 1 Million Dollars in lake repair with the outcome;

To reduce algal blooms on Forest Lake and improve the health of the lake ecosystem.
Councils inadequate scope given to Griffith Uni experts is hindering and delaying efforts to find a long term effective solution.
The Care Group request that the following mandatory objectives be added to the scope and will be raising the issue with Clr Young at the next meeting;

  • Action to improve the long term health of the lake.
  • Investigation and action on Catchment management Issues.
  • Consideration of all environmental Issues.