Shoalhaven City Council will seek approval from State Government agencies to open Lake Conjola outside of the existing Interim Entrance Management Policy.
The first meeting to review Lake Conjola’a Interim Entrance Management Policy was held at Shoalhaven Library in Nowra on Wednesday, February 6.
The meeting included South Coast MP Shelley Hancock, Shoalhaven mayor Amanda Findley, deputy mayor Patricia White, councillors John Levett, Greg Watson and Mark Kitchener, council staff, state government representatives and Conjola Community Association [CCA] executive and members.
CCA representatives provided an overview of the data, that they had been collecting, regarding the lake and their expectations for the ongoing management of Lake Conjola, a council statement said.
Presentations were given by State Government Agency officers explaining the legislative requirements that Council must follow for the management of the lake. This included the requirements that must be followed for any lake opening or works in the channel, council’s statement read.
Council will seek community input to document current conditions around the lake’s foreshore, as its application to open the entrance must clearly outline the reason, including social and environmental impacts.
It was also agreed any review of the Interim Entrance Management Policy must be in accordance with the NSW Coastal Management Act 2016.
A coastal management program [CMP] will be prepared, including community and stakeholder input, council’s statement said. Council has secured State Government funding for the preparation of a CMP, that includes Lake Conjola.
However, participants at meeting agreed that council should pursue grant funding for a stand-alone Lake Conjola Coastal Management Plan, council’s statement said.
Council’s Director of Planning, Environment and Development, Phil Costello, said the workshop was productive in that it clearly set out the legislative requirements and State Government policy that “we all need to work within”.
"As a result, we have been able to come up with an agreed action plan and our staff have commenced to put the agreed actions in place. Its clear that we need to continue to talk with the community to get the outcomes we are all working towards”.
A new trigger level of the lake, referred to as “Captain’s Call” by the Conjola Community Association, was agreed upon for “pre-holiday” openings. If the lake’s level is between 0.8m and 1m AHD, measured at the Conjola Caravan Park gauge, and moderate rainfall is expected, within one month prior to, or at the time of, Christmas and Easter Holidays.
The application will be forwarded to state agencies for determination, council’s statement said.