Lake opening policy is 'democracy in action' say residents

Wonboyn Lake which has a new management policy. Photo: supplied.
Wonboyn Lake which has a new management policy. Photo: supplied.

Ian Williamson, chair of the Wonboyn Lake Ratepayers Association has said that the recent agreement on the Wonboyn Lake opening policy with council showed "democracy in action".

Mr Williamson said the ratepayers association played a significant role in getting the policy in its final form approved, along with the local oyster farmers who were also critical in its development. He also said it brought the community together as everyone had an interest in getting the best policy whether they had commercial or recreational interests in the lake levels.

"When the draft entrance opening policy was first presented by council there was major concern within the community regarding opening levels, water quality, oyster farming, environmental, economic and infrastructure issues, recreational issues particularly fishing and boating, foreshore protection issues, and health and safety issues; the policy was of major concern for the wider Wonboyn Lake community," Mr Williamson said.

Residents made submissions on the draft policy and spoke at the public forum prior to the council meeting where the policy was to be discussed.

The ratepayers association argued for an annual meeting between residents and oyster farmers, and council and relevant government authorities, to discuss the health of the lake and particularly the entrance and this was accepted by council.

"An important outcome from all the interaction between the community and council was that council recognised that issues concerned with the health of the lake and lake openings, were of concern to the wider community. All parties share a common interest for the lake to remain healthy, pristine and available to all. Importantly all parties share the vision of a lake open to the ocean as a healthy tidal estuary," Mr Williamson said.

And while he admits the resulting policy was not perfect, he says it lays a solid foundation for the wider community, including oyster farmers, to interact with council on an annual basis to ensure the continued health and enjoyment of the lake.

Mr Williamson said the lake opening agreement was a major step forward for the community, something that had been pursued for several years.

"Overall this has been a very good outcome between council and the wider community showcasing democracy in action," he said.


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