Sun rises on new deal for Lake Illawarra

Wollongong and Shellharbour councils will decide on the structure of the new estuary management committee for Lake Illawarra next week, more than six months after the NSW government announced the closure of the Lake Illawarra Authority.

In reports to be presented to Wollongong City Council on Monday and Shellharbour City Council on Tuesday, it is proposed that the joint committee comprise two councillors from each council - with the committee's chair rotating between the two councils; one community member from each local government area and one senior officer from the Office of Environment and Heritage.

The committee will also include six non-voting members - two senior officers from each council; a senior officer from Crown Lands and a senior officer from Roads and Maritime Services.

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The method of appointing community representatives is to be decided, but it is expected expressions of interest will be called and a decision made by a joint panel with representatives from both council areas.

The management of land and assets previously the responsibility of the Lake Illawarra Authority (LIA) will be transferred to the council where they are located, but through the estuary management committee the two councils will share responsibility for managing the lake itself, about two-thirds of which is located in the Wollongong area.

It is proposed the two councils spend $150,000 annually on the committee, with Wollongong supplying $100,000 and Shellharbour $50,000, reflecting the area of lake within each LGA.

Shellharbour Mayor Marianne Saliba said having each council take responsibility for the respective land assets around the lake, and sharing responsibility for the condition of the lake, made sense.

"The lake is a large body of water with many different communities on its edge so it made sense that each council area was responsible for local issues," Cr Saliba said.

Shellharbour councillors will be presented with a second report outlining the assets that are proposed to be transferred from the LIA to the council's ownership, including the kiosk at Reddall Reserve, reclaimed land off Ski Way Park, the Pur Pur Bay swimming lagoon and Windang, Picnic, Bevans and Berageree islands.

The report says additional maintenance expenses would be absorbed into Shellharbour council's current maintenance schedules.

There would be "negligible impact" to the provision of services across the city as additional income is expected through the kiosk at Reddall Reserve "and other development opportunities".

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