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A slimy problem: Plea to clean lake

Friends of Queen Elizabeth Park have asked Masterton District Council [MDC] to fund the removal of sludge from the bottom of the Lake of Remembrance before it dies.

Friends of Queen Elizabeth Park members Graham Dick and Paul Foster recently made a submission to the council asking them to approve and fund the sludge removal, and add it to their resource consent with Greater Wellington Regional Council [GWRC].

Dick said the current consent only related to the returning and taking of water to the Waipoua River.

“We know the council is going through the process of renewing the consent for the lake with GWRC.”

He said the lake had not had sediment removed since about 1998, and it had heavily built up since then.

Foster said the lake had about 3000 cubic metres of sludge that continued to increase, and a decreased amount of water because of the growing layer of sludge made the lake heat up faster. “It’s at the point where it will become just an algae pond; it’s pretty stinky these days down there in the summer.”

He said if it was not cleaned soon, the lake’s ecosystem would die.

“Earlier in 2022, when we were trying to tidy up the rubbish, we got further into the lake and had great difficulty actually moving,” Dick said.

Dick said that when the lake was clean, people were able to walk around in it if they needed to.

He said the proposal of Friends of Queen Elizabeth Park was that MDC reverted to cleaning the lake by sandbagging, draining, and cleaning one side at a time.

“We acknowledge that there is concern about the biodiversity of the lake.

“We have a few eels and other species in there, so we’re suggesting that the lake cleanout be done over a period of about two years.”

Foster said the system would leave the lake’s wildlife habitat whilst the other half was being cleaned.

“It’s an ongoing problem that the council is going to have to deal with at some stage and the sooner it is done, the cheaper it will be.”

Foster said it would cost the council between $100,000 and $120,000 per site to clean.

Dick and Foster also suggested MDC work with GWRC to form a long-term plan for the lake.

Grace Prior
Grace Prior
Grace Prior is a senior reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age with a keen interest in environmental issues. Grace is the paper’s health reporter and regularly covers the rural sector, weather, Greater Wellington Regional Council, and coastal stories.

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