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SAVE OUR LAKE RALLY - A cry for help

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On the 16th February 2003 the Save Lake Illawarra Action Group, local small businesses and the community of Lake Illawarra held a march across Windang Bridge to the "Save Our Lake Rally” at Reddall Reserve, Lake Illawarra.

Lake Illawarra was in an appalling condition after the Lake Illawarra Authority had allowed the entrance to stay closed so long that lake levels dropped by one meter through evaporation, killing eighty percent of the only pristine sea grass beds in NSW.

Windang Boatshed during Christmas Season, 19th December 2002

Crossing Windang Bridge, 16th February 2003

Viewing platform Pelican Island, 14th December 2002

The lake became polluted, the tourist industry was losing thousands of dollars a day and tourists, disappointed with the conditions, were saying they would not be back.

The consensus at a public meeting of the “Save Lake Illawarra Action Group” was that the only way to stop the entrance closing year after year was to construct a northern break wall. This proposal of a two wall entrance to stop sand entering the mouth of Lake Illawarra and help with flushing the lake has been around for over twenty years.

Since The Lake Illawarra Authority said that there was not enough money for such a project and that the drought was to blame for the failure of the newly constructed southern wall by itself, Save Lake Illawarra Action Group decided to call for another public appearance after the great success of the Big Dig.

NSW state election was to be held this year. No better time to ask the State Labor Government to support a permanent opening to Lake Illawarra. A Rally was organised to march over Windang Bridge to Reddall Parade, where speakers addressed the public. The “ Lake Rally ” was attended by well over two thousand people expressing their support for the permanent entrance to Lake Illawarra and subsequently a northern wall.

The Rally at the Reddall Reserve Picnic Area, 16th February 2003

Guest speakers at the rally were:

Matt Brown MP (Kiama), Marianne Saliba MP (Illawarra), Noreen Hay MP ( Wollongong ) , Charlie Mifsud (Independent candidate), Margaret Johanson (Greens candidate) and Danielle Jones (Liberal candidate).

Each of the guest speakers supported a permanent entrance to Lake Illawarra the only exception being the greens candidate who was booed from the stage.

The Labor government showed its support by granting two million dollars over the next two years providing Shellharbour and Wollongong councils provided one million dollars each inside a set time perimeter. The Labor government also formed “The Independent Review Panel Lake Illawarra Entrance” chaired by Professor Bruce Thom.

The resulting “Thom’s report” was completed by 30 April 2003 and presented to the Minister Hon. Craig Knowles MP Minister for Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources.

Please read the “Professor Bruce Thom report” for their recommendations to the Government.  Thom's report <part 1>, <2>, <3>, <4>