Lake Cathie dredging set to begin next week

Port Macquarie-Hastings

A significant milestone in the efforts to support and safeguard Lake Cathie and its surrounding environment will take place tomorrow, with the dredging vessel being lifted into the water and operations expected to commence next week.

The works are being undertaken to support Lighthouse Beach at Lake Cathie against the adverse impacts of coastal erosion. Port Macquarie Hastings Council (PMHC) and the contractors have needed to wait for the optimal lake conditions and water levels to align before initiating the operations.

Mayor of Port Macquarie Hastings Council, Cr Peta Pinson, expressed her delight that work was commencing and stated that Council and the community have eagerly awaited this stage.

“Lake Cathie is a treasured recreational gem for our region. It’s wonderful to see this day finally arrive and seeing the machinery on the water will mark a significant moment,” Mayor Pinson said.

“The dredging is crucial not just for the health of the lake, but also for the community. Lake Cathie is dearly loved and the project holds immense significance for the residents, especially for those at Lighthouse Beach and along Illaroo Road,” she said.

PMHC Coast and Estuary Coordinator, Ben Foster, emphasised that the dredging operation will not result in the opening of the lake, but will result in a deeper main lagoon body.

“Sand sourced from the dredging will ultimately be used to nourish and build up the beach’s natural buffer against coastal erosion. This will provide important short-to-medium term protection to the dunes, roads and houses in the area,” Mr Foster said.

“The sand placement is not a permanent feature and is, in fact, intended to move around on the beach and eventually offshore, where it forms surf bars which reduce the wave energy that hits the beach. By reducing the wave energy we can slow down beach erosion,” he said.

“Beyond coastal protection, these works will also help to increase the depth of the lake, improving conditions for recreational water activities like swimming and kayaking.”

The dredge vessel will be lifted into the lake on Wednesday morning at the Jabiru Reserve Boat Ramp and navigated under Ocean Drive Bridge to the main lagoon. Weather permitting, the dredging will kick off next week, with the operation expected to take six to eight weeks.

Equipment and heavy machinery will be on the lake and the beach for much of this time. PMHC requests that the community obey all safety signage and directions from contractors and staff during this time.

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