It could be May next year before dredging operations are carried out in the Lake Conjola channel.
Shoalhaven City Council is negotiating with dredging contractors over the operation that was due to commence last month.
The lake opened naturally during Tuesday's heavy rain, however Lake Conjola Community Association president Robyn Kerves told the Times the community had been waiting for dredging to start and said council had remained close-lipped about the operation.
Councillor Patricia White agreed council staff had not kept the community updated with the dredging plan and she fears it will not be carried out before the summer holidays and will then be postponed until after the shorebird breeding season, which usually runs until April.
“People want to know what is going on,” she said.
“The funding is there for the project, there are dredging companies willing to start immediately, but nothing is happening.
“I don’t understand, after 20 years of excuses, why nothing is happening.
“We have the money and the operation has been approved, so let’s get on with it.”
Council’s Natural Resources and Floodplain manager Isabelle Ghetti told the Times council was continuing to negotiate with contractors and staff were hoping the work would be carried out as soon as possible.
She said the job would take about three weeks and there was a possibility it could be completed before summer, however council had until June 2016 to complete the operation.
“We are doing the best we can to deliver within budget and within the time-frame,” she said.
“We are trying to get it done before Christmas, but I really don’t know when it will be.”
Excess sand from the lake channel will be dredged and used to build up eroded banks on the southern side of the entrance and also trucked to areas of Mollymook Beach that have been eroded during recent storms.
The $1.4 project will also fund dredging works at Currambene Creek and Sussex Inlet to the north.