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Lakes to close?

Tuesday, 20th April, 2010

* Local MP John Williams said residents have approached him after hearing the Zinc Lakes will be closed to the public. * Local MP John Williams said residents have approached him after hearing the Zinc Lakes will be closed to the public.

Mining company Perilya has been asked to confirm reports it intends to close the Zinc Lakes to the public.

Local MP John Williams said yesterday that concerned residents had approached him for help after hearing that the lakes were going to shut. “I have written to Perilya management to clarify whether closing the Zinc Lakes is in their immediate plans, as reports from residents this week suggest,” Mr Williams said in a statement.

The Member for Murray-Darling told the BDT that local groups with permanent bookings had been notified that their events will no longer be held at the lakes, which are on Perilya’s mine lease. Mr Williams said that no reason was given. While one possible reason might be public liability issues, Mr Williams said the lakes had been operating without incident for the past 60 years.

He said he and “I’m sure all of Broken Hill” would be deeply disappointed if the lakes closed as they were an iconic part of the city’s history. “From picnics, to parties, to weddings - every Broken Hill resident, whether they are seven or seventy, has a fond memory of a day they have spent at the Zinc Lakes and to revoke the city’s only accessible public lake would be a tragedy.”

While the Zinc Lakes remain the property of Perilya, Mr Williams said they had, over time, come to belong to Broken Hill residents. “Many residents see the Lakes as a gift from the mining company to the city, which is where the Australian mining industry began,” he said. “The Lakes remind residents of the city’s strong mining culture and heritage and the sacrifices made by miners over many decades.”

Mr Williams said Perilya may not see the Lakes as an asset but local residents hold them in the highest regard. “I understand the land belongs to the mining company, it requires ongoing maintenance and may be seen as a public liability risk to the company, however these lakes mean so much to residents that the people of Broken Hill are not going to turn their backs on the Zinc Lakes,” he said.

“Residents respect the lakes and clearly take great pride in them, accessing them regularly which shows the city appreciates and values Perilya’s ongoing ommitment to maintaining this unique facility. “It may be out of my jurisdiction as a State Member of Parliament but this is something I know the people of Broken Hill will fight for, because the city just wouldn’t be the same without the Zinc Lakes.”

A spokeswoman for Perilya said that managing director Paul Arndt would reply to Mr Williams’ letter. She said the general manager of the local mine, Andrew Lord, was out of the city and would discuss the issue with the BDT on his return next week.

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