Costly quick fix

Costly quick fix

Swimming is set to resume in the leaking Millicent Lake in the coming school holiday period if Wattle Range Council votes tonight (Tuesday) to undertake a “band aid” solution costing an estimated $100,000.

The man-made lake leaked vast amounts of water last summer and the latest technical report obtained by council staff indicates a temporary patch-up is feasible.

This is one of the staff suggestions and a 44-day swimming season will not compromise a major reconstruction and upgrade using concrete if council endorses a long-term solution.

On the other hand, the staff report to council states the alternative option is to keep the lake closed for the entire 2023/24 swimming season.

Engineering services director Peter Halton said the estimated $100,000 outlay would involve the maintenance works to patch and repair both the worst areas of failure in the lake floor and any of the holes created by the geotechnical investigation as well as filling and commissioning the lake.

“If Wattle Range Council resolved to open the lake, it would be required to close it at the end of January to allow enough time for the emptying, cleaning and undertaking the demolition prior to the contractor commencing its works,” Mr Halton said in his report to the November monthly meeting being held tonight.

“The period proposed would be to officially open the lake to the public from December 16 until January 29.

“The question is whether this proposal will put Wattle Range Council at risk of exceeding our water allocation.

“It is likely that as per previous years, the maintenance works are not going to stop the leak in the lake thus the reason why we are working toward the reconstruction of the lake.

“The aquatic engineers have confirmed the operation of the lake during January is not going to put at risk the ability to undertake the reconstruction outside any impacts on timeframe if delays occur in draining and cleaning the lake.”

There are three other references to the Millicent Swimming Lake in tonight’s agenda.

Millicent resident Tamara Cockrum and her teenage son Chad will make a formal presentation to council in which they will advocate for the re-opening of the lake this summer.

The agenda contains several pages of supporting material from Ms Cockrum.

Likewise, the re-opening of the lake has been endorsed in correspondence from Millicent Business Community Association joint chairperson David Smith.

His wide-ranging letter touched on a number of issues relating to the business community.

Mr Smith said the MBCA was supportive of the moves by council to ensure the long-term viability of the lake but it also sought a limited re-opening this summer.

He said this would be a tangible way of supporting local businesses during a busy trading period.

“While we appreciate this might incur a not-insignificant expense, we believe the economic benefit to the district would justify such an outlay,” Mr Smith said.

The third swimming lake reference is a council staff report on the technical investigations by outside parties.

Tonight’s agenda includes a notice of motion from Councillor Sharon Cox about a possible reduction in fees at the truck wash at the Millicent Saleyards.

A notice of motion from Cr Dale Price is, in effect, seeking the reinstatement of a Christmas party for council employees.

There are reports in tonight’s agenda about the Kalangadoo police station, the chief executive’s electric vehicle and concept plans for Lions Park in Millicent.

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