Facelift for local lakes
Providing the district with a variety of recreational and other uses, previously Lake Pillans had suffered from neglect and misuse. For much of this century it was used as a waste dump resulting in heavy metal contamination. It had become a real eyesore. However, it is now transformed into a safe habitat for wildlife and a focal point for environmental and community education.
Rehabilitation of the Lake has involved the combined efforts of the private sector and Government organisations, including the National Landcare Program, Sydney Water and Delta Energy. Contaminated areas have now been sealed off, extensive planting of appropriate species has been undertaken and the historical site generally rejuvenated.
Newly created wetlands also aid the flood mitigation program, providing a stormwater retention basin, as well as a habitat for native flora and fauna. Located in the centre of Lithgow, the Lake is readily accessible to local schools and regularly attracts groups from Sydney.
An amphitheatre has been constructed and the landscaping work has provided employment for 30 people through JobStart programs. During the last 12 months, over 100 people have been involved in various projects at the Lake. Downstream on the Cox River, Lake Lyell was built nearly 15 years ago. Popular with visitors to the area, considerable damage, through uncontrolled use by campers and four wheel drive vehicles, has occurred.
A management team is now working on improving amenities at the Lake, closing some four wheel drive tracks and repairing erosion. Future proposals for this Lake include introducing a long term water quality testing program, installing a caretaker and surveying the many summer visitors to ascertain the best way to manage this area.
Council is aiming for the camping area to become self funding and that monies raised will go towards continually improving the health of the Lake and its environment.
In this, as in other areas, community involvement in the planning and decision making is central to the success of the project by providing greater participation and ownership by the people of Greater Lithgow.