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Imperial Lakes meeting will go ahead

Tuesday, 14th January, 2020

Imperial Lake when it was much fuller than now. A meeting to discuss its reopening is set to take place at the Musicians Club on January 28. PICTURE: Gavin Schmidt Imperial Lake when it was much fuller than now. A meeting to discuss its reopening is set to take place at the Musicians Club on January 28. PICTURE: Gavin Schmidt

By Callum Marshall

An upcoming meeting to discuss ways to reopen Imperial Lake will not be affected by one of its biggest advocates stepping down from public advocacy, said Councillor Tom Kennedy.

Local businessman Peter Nash, who’s been pushing for the reopening of the lake for years, recently announced that he’d be stepping down as “the media’s ‘unofficial’ spokesperson for the CBD” and would focus on his business, Sampson’s shoe store. 

Despite losing a key public voice, Clr Kennedy said the meeting was about the community as a whole and getting input and ideas from locals about what could be done if Imperial Lake was reopened for recreational use.

“What’s happening there is Peter doesn’t want to have as much public profile, which is fine,” said Clr Kennedy.

“What really needs to happen out of this meeting is that we want to get as many people as we can to commit to actually putting in their time and effort, if and when the community gets ownership of the Imperial Lake.

“It’s been said by Essential Water that they would be decommissioning the reservoir, which means that it then automatically goes back to control with council as trustees of all Western lands in our city boundary.”

He said the more individuals who committed to helping would make it the easier for local State MP Roy Butler to represent the community’s wishes.

“Roy Butler has made it clear that he will represent on the community’s behalf to try and make sure that when that reservoir is decommissioned they don’t knock out the banks so that it doesn’t hold enough water to have any purpose,” Clr Kennedy said.

“In reality the most important thing is not any one person, it’s the community as a whole. 

“And if we can get a commitment, and then we can show that to the state member Roy Butler, he can then go to the state government and say ‘look, the community wants to keep the Imperial Lake as a water reserve.’

“Which means that it holds water, we can do recreational use there and fishing and that sort of thing.

“The only importance of speakers is so that we can just get a few open views of people that have been interested in the past.

“I’m sure Peter will still be more than willing to help in the background.”

Clr Kennedy said the public was very keen about reopening the lake.

“People really want the Imperial Lake to go ahead,” he said.

“It’d be nice just to have a water reserve in Broken Hill that we could go whenever we like for picnicking, fishing, and all that sort of stuff.

“People are really positive, they’d like to see it happen and I have no doubt that, even if it’s not the initial meeting, at some stage hundreds of people will be willing to volunteer their time to keep Imperial Lake in a standard that makes it useful for those things that I mentioned.” 

He said there were already some good ideas being floated about.

“One of the proposals a bloke from Fisheries had was to bring out students from city areas such as Sydney, with different fish species in the Imperial Lakes and teach them about fishing and camping sorts of things,” he said.

“That could be money there from the education department which would not only bring people into town, tourism dollars, but also help to cover the cost of operating Imperial Lake.

“There’s plenty of ideas that people have had over the time and it’d be good just to get all those people.”

He said anyone who had ideas to contribute was more than welcome to come to the meeting on January 28 at the Musicians Club, particularly older residents with knowledge.

“They’re used to be yabbying out there all the time, boating, yachting. So from an historic point of view it’d be good to get some speakers on that front as well.”

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