Further access granted to Crater Lakes precinct

Mount Gambier City Council last week re-opened a section of the Sugarloaf, enabling users to access the area between Potters Point and the Punchbowl at the base of the Centenary Tower stairs.

The latest phase of the staggered approach to reopening the Crater Lakes area followed ongoing risk assessments since fire took hold in late January burning 50 hectares of grass and scrub.

Council chief executive Sarah Philpott said the fire track that runs from the base of the Sugarloaf into Marist Park had also reopened to pedestrians, however the stairs leading up to the crater edge towards Centenary Tower remain closed.

“The small sloped section adjacent to the stairs that was slightly burnt has now recovered with the growth of bracken and is a very low risk to the public, so we are pleased to reopen this section leading into the Easter long weekend in the hope residents and visitors can explore a little more of this popular recreational precinct,” she said.

“Council has engaged a forestry consultant to undertake a detailed report into the options for the management of the pine trees affected by the fire at the back section of Carinya Gardens. Assessment has also been undertaken on the blue gum trails with works starting on the removal of dangerous trees and clean up of pre-approved tracks in the coming weeks.

“The top of the crater from the bottom of the stairs to Centenary Tower, Brownes Lake/Kroweratwari, the Blue Gum Trail, Centenary Tower, the back section of Carinya Gardens Cemetery and associated walking/bike trails connected to these areas remain closed until further assessments and remedy works can be undertaken.

“There is still a risk of falling trees, limbs, debris and landslide/erosion in these areas so it is not safe to allow the public back into these areas until further risk and tree assessments can be conducted at a later date.”

Ms Philpott said bunting, temporary fencing and signage to highlight and prevent the public from entering dangerous areas that were affected by the fires was still in place.

“It is imperative that everyone obeys all signage as the closures are in place to protect your safety,” she said.

“Council will continue to undertake site assessments with local contractors in coming weeks to develop a tree management report that will enable the removal of dangerous trees to start, further progressing the recovery phase.”

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