Gold Coast Residents Have Stepped up Efforts to Save Black Swan Lake

By: LAURA NELSON From: Gold Coast Sun September 24, 2014 12:00AM

The Gold Coast and Hinterland Environmental Council (Gecko) has also thrown its weight behind the residents’ campaign, saying the lake should be protected at all costs.

The council-owned waterhole off Ascot Court has been earmarked as a parking area as part of the $11 million upgrade of the Gold Coast Turf Club site to create the new home of the Gold Coast Show.

However, Sally Spain, spokeswoman for the Residents and Friends of Black Swan Lake lobby group, said they were determined not to lose the quiet, secluded haven for birds.

Sally Spain. Source: Supplied

“A survey by Birds Queensland counted 400 birds in an hour, which is a testament to what a healthy, thriving, natural asset the lake is and has been for a long time,” she said.

“The lake has been there for 30 years and residents have long-term memories of walking around it.”

Ms Spain said there were other sensible alternatives for parking for the three-day Gold Coast Show and policies had to be found by Gold Coast City Council to protect the city’s natural heritage and quiet retreats.

She questioned the validity of a report that claimed the lake was toxic and said no water sampling had been carried out to prove this claim.

“The lake does not need to be cleaned and we have found no proliferation of dead birds,” Ms Spain said.

“There is no evidence that the lake is in any way unsatisfactory.”

Locals keen to save the lake met last week to express their concerns and Gecko president Lynda Hull said she was totally supportive of protecting it.

“There are so many bird species, including black swans, herons and grebes, which are nesting there,” she said.

“This lake should be protected at all costs and because it’s a community asset, it should be cleaned and maintained.”

She also called for proper community consultation about the future of the lake.

The Gold Coast Turf Club has suggested wildlife at the lake be ­relocated but Currumbin Sanctuary’s Dr Michael Pyne said it was difficult to relocate black swans, which were considered highly ­territorial.

Area councillor Lex Bell said Gold Coast City Council had commissioned both environmental and hydraulic studies on the water.

“These are not yet complete and once they are, they will be presented to councillors with recommendations,” he said.

However, he expected this to take another few weeks.

“I do know that the water is extremely polluted and it’s not a simple matter of filling in the lake because the water is of such poor quality that it would have to be pumped in to the sewerage system,” Cr Bell said.

“That is a real problem and this body of water may have to remain as it is because it could cost a couple of hundred thousand dollars to fix.

“The latest suggestion is that the Gold Coast Turf Club may take some of the water for landscaping nutrients.”

Cr Bell assured residents that the council was trying to find a solution.

“Once we have the reports, councillors will be able to make a make a decision.”

From Gold Coast Bulletin

“Thanks to Wildlife Queensland for raising this issue.

Removing a lake that is habitat for local bird species for a car park sends the wrong message.

Council’s own Transport Strategy urges less use of cars and more public transport.

Council must look at a park and ride strategy for the Turf Club and other events occurring on this land.

Gecko looks forward to reading the reports being undertaken by Council, though it would appear that if the birds have flourished there for 30 years there can’t be too much wrong with the lake.

Perhaps fewer fertilizers and pesticides use by neighbouring properties would also improve its quality.

The drainage from their nearby stables could also be attributing to any toxins, but the rushes growing where this seepage appears are known to purify the water.”