BALLARAT’S Lake Wendouree may be ‘the jewel in the crown’ but keeping the weeds down to a minimum comes at a cost.
City of Ballarat Infrastructure and Environment Director Terry Demeo said that the annual cost of weed cutting to the City of Ballarat is approximately $600,000.
There can be up to four weed cutters on Lake Wendouree at any point in time and the machines operate daily “Pre-drought, the weed cutting program was only extracting 14,000 cubic metres of weeds annually,” Mr Demeo said.
“The City of Ballarat now takes out 50,000 cubic metres of lake weed annually and this is projected to increase in the order of 30 per cent each year based on the volume increases that we have experienced over the past five years.” Lake Wendouree is a major recreational facility and is used by rowers, sailors and those trying their luck to snag a fish or two.
Hundreds of people walk the lake, each day, and the children’s playgrounds are rarely void of users.
Harvesting the weed, of which Myriophyllum salsugineum is the most abundant species, mechanically is the most environmentally economical method.
“The contractors have four people, which comprises of three harvester operators and one driver who takes the cut weed to the Learmonth Street transfer station for composting with the collection of the green waste,” Mr Demeo said.
“The City of Ballarat harvester has one person, who cuts and takes the weed to the Gillies Street transfer station, which is then made available to the general public for free collection from Gillies Street (south west corner of Victoria Park).” Judging by how quickly the lake week is collected by gardeners, it must be doing local gardens some good.