The familiar stench of Bird Lake on a sweltering summer day is set to be a thing of the past as remediation work on the problematic site is scheduled to begin in March.
In the lead up to the 2018 state election, the Marshall Liberal Government made an election promise to foot the entire bill for the operation.
Almost a year later and $3.2 million has been provided to the Port Augusta City Council to rehabilitate Bird Lake.
Residents and businesses on the southeast entrance to the city have experienced unpleasant odours for over a decade, with the closure of the Northern Power Station in 2016 only exasperating the problem.
Member for Stuart and Minister for Energy and Mining Dan van Holst Pellekaan made the election commitment and is pleased to see it delivered.
“I’ve been all too aware of how difficult it’s been for people living in and near Willsden, and for those travelling through that region, to tolerate the smells emanating from the lake,” he said.
“The stench from Bird Lake has been detrimental to the quality of life of affected residents, detracted from the city’s positive reputation and impacted on the local tourism industry.”
Council will now commence stage one of the project, enlisting Tonkin Consulting to prepare the engineering, revegetation and other project management plans.
Mr van Holst Pellekaan also took aim at the former Weatherill government for deflecting responsibility.
“The former Labor Government offered only half of funding the Council wanted to deal with the issue,” he said.
“As promised, the Marshall Government delivered funding in its first Budget to enable the Council to address this issue.”
Port Augusta City Council Chief Executive Officer John Banks said the Council and the city’s residents thanked Minister van Holst Pellekaan for his efforts in advocating for the lake’s rehabilitation.
“This has been a major problem for many years, and particularly since the power station closed – but is one that this community did not cause, and did not have the financial resources to solve,” Mr Banks said.
“We all thank the Minister for his understanding of our frustration, and for his support for a solution.
“Our city is looking forward to a period of economic growth, fuelled by new opportunities in sectors such as renewable energy and tourism. Removing the smell and returning the lake to its natural state will help put Port Augusta in the best place to capitalise on those opportunities.”
Work is expected to begin at the Willsden site in March and finish in September.