Positive Outcomes for Thirlmere Lakes
Posted on: 29.05.2017
Wollondilly Shire Council has achieved positive outcomes for Thirlmere Lakes and its community through the Thirlmere Lakes Forum held in May. Approximately 60 people attended the forum to view presentations from the ‘Blue Mountains World Heritage Advisory Committee’, ‘National Parks and Wildlife Service’, ‘Water Wetlands and Coasts Science’, ‘Glencore Coal Assets’ and community representatives. An open discussion followed around the key issues associated with the Lakes to help identify the priority issues and associated actions for an Action Plan and to form the basis of a Council Community Advocacy Statement on the Lakes.
The Forum was extremely positive and has achieved constructive partnerships with all stakeholder groups. This will enable Council to successfully advocate the views and concerns of the local community.
Brad Staggs, Council’s Manager of Environment, said “Council is extremely pleased with the outcomes of the Forum. The number and the calibre of participants were very impressive and the feedback from participants was encouraging to say the least.
The stakeholder representatives were potential decision makers in this issue and gathering them all together allowed them and Council to discuss and share their understanding, issues, constraints and aspirations for the Lakes. It also provided an opportunity to start thinking together about how the Lakes could be returned to their previous condition.
Council is really keen now to take the next step after the forum and develop an Action Plan for us to engage all of the stakeholders in getting the Thirlmere Lakes back to their former glory.”
Actions that will result from the Forum include:
- To develop an action plan containing measures in regards to issues associated with the Lakes, as well as aspects of the overall Park;
- To position Council as a key convenor for responding to the identified key issues and actions in the Action Plan.
The widespread positive feedback to the Forum and its innovative approach demonstrates the importance of Council’s role in advocating for better management of Thirlmere Lakes and the positive influence Council has in bringing together the community and key stakeholders to address the issues at hand.
Thirlmere Lakes National Park (the Park) is situated at the eastern edge of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, within the Wollondilly Local Government Area. A key feature of the Park is a system of five perennial freshwater lakes listed on the ‘Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia’ database. Although Wollondilly Shire Council is not the landowner of the Park, or responsible for the management of its significant water resources, heritage and biodiversity, Council recognises it as an important recreational and tourism asset for the local and broader community.
Over the years, Council has shared the concerns of the local community with the need for adequate investigation of the potential causes of reductions in the levels of the lakes. This issue received increased momentum from three separate research studies in May 2016 on potential linkages of water levels to nearby underground mining operations.
For more information on the Thirlmere Lakes Forum please contact David Henry, Council’s Environmental Assessment Planner 4677 1100.