Leaky lake cost shock

Leaky lake cost shock

Industry experts estimate a major concrete rebuild of the Millicent Swimming Lake will cost around $8m and take up to a year to complete.

However, Wattle Range Council staff have instead recommended a $130,000 temporary bitumen reseal to enable swimming this summer and time to secure grants for the major concrete rebuild which is expected to last 50 years.

The swimming lake recommendation and written report from Engineering Services Director Peter Halton will be discussed at the monthly council meeting in Millicent tonight (Tuesday).

Mr Halton said the $8m figure was ahead of preliminary estimates but the aquatic experts had suggested further works.

He said they include concrete floor joints to allow for expansion, earthworks to vary the slope of the lake floor to allow for disability access and upgrading filtration and circulation systems to achieve lower chlorine usage and better water quality outcomes.

According to Mr Halton, the scope of the major rebuild would involve construction of a concrete floor base to replace the existing asphalt/bitumen floor, pipe work (fill, drain and chlorination return points), a chlorination filtration system, level automation, pumps and surge tank hydraulics and a new plantroom.

“The $8m estimated amount ensures that reconstruction of the Millicent Swimming Lake is completed to an appropriate standard and the asset will last for the next 50 years for the public to enjoy,” Mr Halton said.

“Through discussion with the Aquatic Engineering consultant and Quantity Surveyor, it is recommended to undertake this work over three or four stages depending on Wattle Range Council’s appetite to complete some of the additional value-add elements to the 

“The reason for a staged approach is to keep the lake open for each summer and to help secure external grants.

“We must also advance the project cautiously because of the unknown condition of the existing pipe work and infrastructure under the lake floor and back to the existing pump shed.

“The first stage is to reseal the lake floor as a temporary measure to stop the leakage and allow time to plan and undertake works.

“InRoads Pty Ltd have quoted for this work at $132,000.”

Among the many locals interested in the outcome of tonight’s deliberations are members of the Sparkes family who have managed the café/deli and caravan park adjacent to the swimming lake for the past five years.

They are well aware of the popularity of the lake having experienced a steep decline in caravan park bookings last summer when it appeared the leakage problems would keep it closed throughout.

Temporary repairs to solve leakage problems were undertaken and the lake was available for swimming for a shortened season from December 18 until March 12.

Sean Sparkes said his family would support any decision made by the council.

He said council staff had kept the family updated with the proposals which included adding such child-friendly activities as a splash park.

“We want the job to be done properly,” Mr Sparkes said.

“It might be there could be a summer when there is no swimming at all but we are prepared for that as it means there will be concrete rebuild lasting 50 years.

“We would survive as the lakeside deli has regular customers.

“On the other hand, a patch-up would also be okay as it would give council time to secure grants.”

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