Dawkins Park in Macksville: An ongoing source of odorous problems

One of the proposals put forward is a bridge to be located as shown.

DAWKINS Park, located opposite the Council Chambers in Macksville, next to the public library in Princess Street, is a centrepoint for the town.

It is home to many birds, predominantly White Ibis, but few people can ever be seen picnicking around its shores.

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The reasons for this are predominantly odour-related.

In short, the lake stinks.

“I hate it,” one local student walking past the lake told News Of The Area.

“Yesterday my sister and I found a dead bird on that seat there and the whole place is a bit of a cesspit,” she elaborated, pointing to an empty park bench next to the lake.

For years now, Nambucca Valley Council has racked its collective brains on ways to fix the problems associated with the man-made lake.

According to a report to be delivered at the next Council meeting, a number of interventions have been attempted.

A diffused air-line was installed near Giinagay Way to inject air through a pipe system.

A mixer has been permanently anchored near Giinagay Way to bring water from lower down in the water profile up to the surface.

As it pushes it out, oxygen is mixed into the water through surface disturbance.

Finally, a windmill, which is designed to transport water from the eastern side of the lake to an artificial wetland at the western side in Dawkins Park, was installed.

The effect of filtration through the plants and gravel in the wetland is designed to reduce nutrient levels and turbidity in the water before it is returned to the lake.

Despite these attempts, the water quality continues to be poor and oxygen levels are low.

The main culprits appear to be the birds and their droppings.

Increased vegetation planting on the island was another idea but the birds made quick work of destroying these attempts.

Egg-oiling, which involves immersing the eggs of ground nesting birds in paraffin so that the embryo does not develop and the egg will not hatch, was also tried, however it was difficult to maintain and perhaps staff did not look forward to the onerous task of getting across the stinky water to the island to undertake it.

Nothing seems to have brought the people back and this is one place where the birds ‘rule the roost’ in Macksville.
At this week’s Nambucca Valley Council meeting (Thursday 15 February, prior to print publication of this newspaper), Council were set to consider new proposals designed to fix the problems of Dawkins Lake.

One suggestion is a bridge, either of land-fill or polycarbonate.

Another considers the costs and consequences of simply filling in the lake to create a large public space.

According to a report from Council, a land bridge connecting the island with the Southern edge of the lake is the cheapest and most preferred option at this stage.

The report also states that future works could be funded by the Environmental Levy resulting in no cost to the bottom line of the Council’s budget.


One thought on “Dawkins Park in Macksville: An ongoing source of odorous problems

  1. Dawkins lake – ”It is home to many birds, predominantly White Ibis, but few people can ever be seen picnicking around its shores.” That’s because it is home to birds – not people. Why can’t we leave space for nature, for the flora and fauna living here in Gumbaynggirr Country? This lake is a small wetland and these habitats are vanishing faster than rainforests.

    The raucous life of breeding Cattle Egrets is spectacular. See my short video from this year’s World Wetlands Day: https://photovoltaicpoetry.com.au/new-video-world-wetlands-day-2024/

    The problem of the island being denuded by Ibis, and of the water quality in the lake, is due to our activities. Drought and water extraction for agriculture have dried the inland wetlands, where the Ibis used to breed. The Ibis are native birds and we should share the environment.

    There is no easy solution to sustainable management, but filling in the lake would be terrible. I have seen Ospreys there, Royal Spoonbills breeding and more. Has the Council tried spraying the eggs with canola oil? The eggs don’t develop without oxygen, but the parents continue to incubate.

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