OPINION: Open letter to the NSW State government election candidates

DEAR NSW State government election candidates,

THE Sandy Beach community has been lobbying for years for the recognition, protection and remediation of Hearnes Lake, a precious and vulnerable habitat, part of the Solitary Islands Marine Park, home to endangered species and threatened ecological communities and a great environmental and community recreational asset.

Hearnes Lake has been subject to degradation from years of runoff from farming activities in the catchment, with many studies identifying the alarming levels of sediment, fertilizers and agricultural chemicals relentlessly being washed into the Lake.

Even as the community protested the destruction of the Lake, the damage has continued unabated.

We are calling on all candidates for the nearing NSW State government election, to address the need to protect and maintain clean, healthy waterways on the Coffs Coast, to provide safe recreational opportunities to the community and to support their inherent environmental values. In particular, to address the ongoing degradation of Hearnes Lake by Intensive Plant Agricultural activities, and to outline their commitment to implement actions to actively and immediately reduce the possibility of contaminated water reaching the tributaries of Hearnes Lake.

We need long term effective solutions, which result in no evidence of pesticide runoff and the recovery of the macroinvertebrate populations within the tributaries of Hearnes Lake.

Solutions need to be focused on these outcomes.

Responses by candidates will be tabulated and provided to the public for their consideration.

Maxine Rowley,
Hearnes Lake Catchment Management Group and SANDBAG.

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