Years of squabbling over funding for Lake Illawarra have ended with the NSW government officially endorsing a plan of management for the lake developed by Wollongong and Shellharbour councils.
The Coastal Management Program (CMP) is the first of its kind in the state and will unlock funding from the state government's Coastal Management Grants program to cover areas such as cockle harvesting, coastal erosion and recreational infrastructure.
The program details actions put together by the two councils to reduce key threats to the lake.
They include management of the entrance channel, as well as storm water and water quality issues from existing and proposed large scale urban developments in the catchment.
Along with the management of cockles, the rehabilitation of riparian and wetland areas and the management of foreshore erosion are addressed. As is linking shared paths around the lake and localised dredging to improve boating access from existing boats ramps and jetties.
Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock said the program outlines long-term management plans for the lake.
She said the CMP was developed in close consultation with the Lake Illawarra community, and provides a clear strategy for the long-term management of the lake.
Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said the ecological and environmental fragility of the area was reflected in the actions being proposed. He said how the lake was managed, protected and improved was very important to both cities.
"We look forward to mobilising resources," he said.
Shellharbour Mayor Marianne Saliba said the certification was a vital step in protecting a great natural asset.
"The actions that we undertake now will determine the health and protection of the lake and surrounding habitat into the future. The unique diversity of life in and around Lake Illawarra is fragile and needs comprehensive planning to protect it. The lake is special to both locals and visitors and we have a duty to safeguard it."
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