Lake Illawarra's $20,000 clean-up 'a start'

Foreshore Improvement Group members Jo Lye, Kay Tomlins, Don Martin, Patricia Eagles, Anita Teesdale, Pat Cummins, Robert Hooper, Roshelle Williams, Colin Sherack, Fred Pintley and John Davey (front) have welcomed Shellharbour City Council's $20,000 grant. Picture: GEORGIA MATTS

Foreshore Improvement Group members Jo Lye, Kay Tomlins, Don Martin, Patricia Eagles, Anita Teesdale, Pat Cummins, Robert Hooper, Roshelle Williams, Colin Sherack, Fred Pintley and John Davey (front) have welcomed Shellharbour City Council's $20,000 grant. Picture: GEORGIA MATTS

A group of Mount Warrigal residents has welcomed Shellharbour City Council's $20,000 commitment to clear a section of the Lake Illawarra foreshore of weeds, undergrowth and dead material.

However, they say they will continue their push for greater control of casuarina trees in the area.

The Foreshore Improvement Group (FIG) comprises 100 residents who live along Reddall Parade, between Konrads Road and Madigan Boulevard.

Last year Shellharbour City Council launched an investigation into the poisoning of trees at Boonerah Point which forced the closure of a children's playground.

The council said hundreds of trees had been poisoned or removed along the lake foreshore at Mount Warrigal over a three-year period.

FIG spokesman John Davey said the group was formed in response to accusations by council officers last September that some residents had poisoned trees "for the purpose of improving their property values".

Mr Davey said FIG did not not condone the poisoning, but said it highlighted the concerns that many people had with the "accelerating and exponential" growth of casuarina.

He said the residents faced the "increasing loss of a visual and physical connection to the lake".

"The build up of weeds and undergrowth such as lantana and bracken is deteriorating the foreshore to such an extent it means in some parts you can no longer see the lake, let alone access it."

Mr Davey, who has lived in his home for 35 years, said the average member of FIG had lived along Reddall Parade for two decades.

"People have been here long term and seen the changes," Mr Davey said. "The lake is the cleanest it has been in decades, but the foreshore is going in the opposite direction - it needs some TLC.

"There are nine drains - two of them are major drains - and without exception those drains have been compromised by the build up of casuarina."

Mr Davey said the group welcomed the support of councillors, who last week endorsed the $20,000 works.

He said creating viewing platforms along the popular shared pathway would be an invaluable asset for tourists and residents alike.

A Shellharbour council spokeswoman said the council was currently implementing tasks identified in a draft vegetation management plan for the Boonerah Point area, including the removal of dead wood and environmental weeds.

"In addition, a consultant will be engaged to conduct a vegetation survey and map the existing vegetation along the lake foreshore to identify vegetation communities. The budget allocated for this task is $20,000.

"This information will be used in the final vegetation management plan."

The council said the request for a viewing platform would be considered as part of an overall master plan for the reserve and will be placed for future budget consideration.

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