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Imperial push continues

Wednesday, 4th March, 2020

MP Roy Butler being shown around Imperial Lakes by Essential Water recently. PICTURE: Supplied MP Roy Butler being shown around Imperial Lakes by Essential Water recently. PICTURE: Supplied

By Emily McInerney

The decommissioning of Imperial Lakes won’t dampen any plans to turn it into a recreational area.

In a continued effort to push the reopening of the lakes, Barwon MP Roy Butler is looking into all funding options.

One such avenue was the Safe and Secure Water Program funding which is a $400 million pool of money.

“It was suggested to us by the NSW Dam Safety Committee,” Mr Butler said yesterday.

“The funding is administered by the NSW Department of Planning Industry and Environment (DPIE).”

The money can only be accessed by prescribed dam owners as defined in the NSW Dams Safety Act 2015. 

Unfortunately, Mr Butler said, Essential Water say they can’t access this funding.

“As the Imperial Lakes are not a supply of water for the town, it is not eligible,” he said.

Essential Water’s position as the owner of a dam classified as “high risk” is to continue to move forward with decommissioning the lakes.

“However, Essential Water informed me the removal of the dam won’t stop any future developments.”

Mr Butler said the decommissioning of the front wall would not affect the back lake, and have only a small impact on the front lake. 

“We are currently looking for construction details on the dam wall,” he said.

“That way the Dam Safety Committee can reassess the wall and see there is no safety risk.

“However, it won’t stop the initiative. There is still a body of water out there. the infrastructure is out there.”

Mr Butler said he spoke with some local fishing groups who have access to funding surrounding licensing for fishing.

“There is about $7 million in that,” he said.

“There are a bunch of other grants that are for public infrastructure which would be suitable.

“We’re also looking to engage community groups, any groups interested in the regeneration of the lakes.

“There are still a lot of reasons to push ahead despite the possibility of it being decommissioned.

“Imperial Lakes can provide an amenity for the city, where residents can swim, barbecue, fish and play water sports.

“I would love to see people down there. It will really be a positive thing for Broken Hill.”

Mr Butler said many exit surveys from public servants who left Broken Hill stated that they missed having a recreational body of water.

“It’s so important for quality of life. It’s a project I’m keen to help deliver.”

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