17 February 2022

Online stink over Yerrabi Pond comes as government reveals its 10-year plan

| Max O'Driscoll
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Yerrabi Pond

The algae, smell and overall appearance of Yerrabi Pond became a point of discussion online this week. Photo: Peter Kenworthy.

Just as the ACT Government unveiled its 10-year plan for Canberra’s lakes and ponds, a photo showing the state of Yerrabi Pond started raising a stink online.

Photos showing the extent of algal growth in the pond had commenters going into detail about the horrible smells coming from it.

There are, however, already plans in the works to improve the water quality at Yerrabi Pond as part of the ACT Government’s Healthy Waterways program.

Before the end of April this year, it intends to install floating wetlands to reduce the growth of nuisance algae in the lake. The wetland platform will be 1000 metres square in size – double the size of the similar, already successful project at Lake Tuggeranong.

However the ACT Government acknowledged that, beyond the floating wetlands, much more work is required to reduce nutrient levels at the pond to a point where nuisance algae becomes a thing of the past.

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The Healthy Waterways team will create a catchment plan for Yerrabi Pond in the next couple of years, including plans for both assets that filter pollution from stormwater and infrastructure that helps restore some of the Yerrabi catchment’s natural cleansing function.

Friends of the Yerrabi support the installation of the wetlands but are firm in wanting the settlement status of the pond to be upgraded to recreational. This is to ensure the government’s management of the area is in line with the standard set at other recreational ponds.

Founder of the group John Beagle suggested it was “ludicrous” the change hadn’t happened already and argued it was just another example of the “nappy valley” (Gungahlin) being sold short by the ACT Government.

“Without question, there are more people that use Yerrabi Pond than there are that use Lake Ginninderra,” Mr Beagle said.

“They’re not coming through there on their way to and from work. They’re going there to relax, enjoy and exercise, and all of this is totally ignored.

“Gungahlin is the fastest-growing area of Canberra and it’s got more young people, babies and children, and young parents than anywhere else in Canberra, but it hasn’t got the facilities. This pond has got great potential, but they haven’t spent money on it and they’re not inclined to spend money on it.”

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Mr Beagle compared the government’s management of Yerrabi Pond to Lake Tuggeranong, which was also initially considered a settlement pond. He argued that it would take one visit to Yerrabi for government figures to realise the level of recreational use at the pond each day.

Mr Beagle said his group was tired of hearing about meetings and planning and now wanted to see action.

“We’re trying to get people to realise that this is grossly unfair when they spend tens of millions maintaining the area around Lake Tuggeranong,” he said.

Greens MLA Andrew Braddock has been outspoken on the issues at Yerrabi Pond. He described it as the “heart of Gungahlin” and a meeting place for exercise and relaxation in nature.

“Investment has not kept up with demand from residents,” Mr Braddock said. “It needs enhanced lighting, seating, facilities for young people, signage and toilet facilities.

“One of the top priorities during my term in office is to revitalise Yerrabi Pond. I will push for improvements at every opportunity, and fully stand behind Friends of Yerrabi Pond and the residents of Gungahlin who want to see the area revitalised.”

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The ACT Government’s 10-year management plan details its four prime management duties at Yerrabi Pond: to prevent and control floods by providing a reservoir to receive flows, prevent and control pollution of waterways, provide for public use for recreation and habitat for fauna and flora.

To learn more about the Land Management Plan for Yerrabi Pond, and all the other lakes and ponds in the ACT, visit the YourSay Conversation website.

Original Article published by Max O’Driscoll on Riotact.

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Harold W Schranz1:02 pm 20 Feb 22

It has been a problem for years … I no longer kayak through it … obviously needs more oxygen!

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