08/08/2006 - 22:00

Mine rehabilitation adds fresh dimension to Collie recreation

08/08/2006 - 22:00

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A former Wesfarmers Premier Coal mine near Collie will reportedly be the first in Australia to be rehabilitated and transformed into a freshwater lake and premiere recreation area.

Mine rehabilitation adds fresh dimension to Collie recreation

A former Wesfarmers Premier Coal mine near Collie will reportedly be the first in Australia to be rehabilitated and transformed into a freshwater lake and premiere recreation area.

Plans for Lake Kepwari have been completed and construction drawings are being prepared for the creation of a two-kilometre long, 1km-wide and 70-metre deep lake for rowing, canoeing, yachting, water-skiing, swimming and camping.

A sandy swimming beach, boat ramp, jetties and pontoons will be constructed during stage one of the project, which is estimated to cost $2.4 million.

Engineering and design consultant Opus has been engaged by the South West Development Commission to develop a three-staged plan for the site.

Community comment on the project was collected during a workshop in August 2005, and plans incorporating the feedback will be submitted to Collie Shire Council for approval this month.

Further works during stage one will include the installation of suitable access roads, car parking, information bays, barbeque area, shelter and grassed areas.

An event control tower will be constructed during stage two, together with cycle ways, and a wildlife sanctuary with an Aboriginal cultural and interpretive area.

Stage three will involve the commercial realities of the project and will include the likely development of a campground, caravan park, chalets, backpacker accommodation, a clubhouse and/or kiosk by private investors.

SWDC chief executive and chairman of the Lake Kepwari Working Group, Don Punch, told WA Business News that, now plans were completed, the commission was in a better position to seek more funding to enable work to be completed within six years.

Mr Punch said the commission had raised $500,000 from the state government towards the $2.4 million cost of stage one works, but was seeking additional support from the Commonwealth and the private sector for the remainder of stage one works.

Stage two was yet to be costed, however once the plan was finalised a financial feasibility study would be undertaken and funding would be sought, he said. 

Wesfarmers and its conservation partners have spent four years restoring the lake to a natural pH balance and stabilising the water’s edge. 

“They have stabilised the lake through rapid filling and are monitoring the water quality. The wetlands to one side are now thriving and we’re noticing that marron have appeared,” Mr Punch told WA Business News.

Commercial development around the lake would have to be sensitive to the environmental elements of the local area.

Mr Punch said potential lots would not be freehold, while the working group would consider allowing a resort developer to build most or all of stage three.

The working group comprises representatives of state government agencies, the Shire of Collie, Wesfarmers Premier Coal, Collie Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Centre for Sustainable Mine Lakes (CSML), and the local community.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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