A turtle from Lake Apex, Gatton, is ready to be rehomed. Photo: Ali Kuchel
A turtle from Lake Apex, Gatton, is ready to be rehomed. Photo: Ali Kuchel

Clearing Lake Apex one step closer after council vote

DESILTING Lake Apex is one step closer as Lockyer Valley councillors agreed to investigate costs and processes to clear the bone-dry lake.

Councillors today agreed to investigate costs to clear the overgrown Lake Apex and Lake Freeman despite the Friends of Lake Apex association previously saying it would damage the area.

Combined, the two lakes could store about 150 megalitres of water when they were desilted previously in 1988.

But due to the current conditions of the lakes, the combined storage capacity is estimated at just 34ML.

View of Lake Apex, Gatton, when it had water (file image)
View of Lake Apex, Gatton, when it had water (file image)

Although councillors are eager to have the lakes cleared, Lockyer Valley Regional Council mayor Tanya Milligan said there was no money in the budget for the project this calendar year.

“Regardless of the rain coming, nothing will be happening this calendar year,” Cr Milligan declared.

“Previously we have had conflicting information.”

Council staff met with the state referral assessment agency last month, who were supportive of the project.

While walking by Lake Apex, Renee Guddop noticed eels dying en mass in the muddy puddle which remains of the lake. (file image)
While walking by Lake Apex, Renee Guddop noticed eels dying en mass in the muddy puddle which remains of the lake. (file image)

Council’s group manager for community and regional prosperity Amanda Pugh told councillors there were processes to follow and that it could take up to four months before work started.

In August last year, environmental specialists were brought in to remove turtles, eels and fish from the remaining puddles at the lake.

She said a development application would be required to undertake the desilting works.

Cr Rick Vela questioned the four-month project as wet season was approaching.

“It seems to be opening up more questions than answers. I’m hoping that stirring this up again we can get more definitive answers,” he said.

Staff from Red Leaf Environmental drag what remains of Lake Apex to rescue the turtles back in August 2019. Photo: Ali Kuchel
Staff from Red Leaf Environmental drag what remains of Lake Apex to rescue the turtles back in August 2019. Photo: Ali Kuchel

Cr Holstein said with the Bureau of Meteorology predicting a wetter than usual summer, council needed to “get a wriggle on”.

“Lake Apex we all acknowledge that it’s a whole-of-community use park, and we need to be looking not just from one aspect of the park but from all,” she said.

“We need to look at what potential could be there in the future, if we could make it better and attract more people.”

But Cr Holstein pressed caution to clearing Lake Freeman as it was a “different lake”.

“We need to be really careful what we consider doing because that’s where the majority of bird life is and it’s a more natural area – we should proceed with caution with Lake Freeman,” Cr Holstein said.

Councillors agreed to endorse council officers to investigate associated costs and processes to desilt Lake Apex and Lake Freeman, and to provide a report detailing the costs and processes for council’s consideration.


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