Lake Wendouree harvester not quite cutting it: out of action for 23 days

THE Lake Wendouree weedcutter was out of action for 23 days throughout November and December due to breakdowns, with only 298 cubic metres of weed being harvested.

It compares to 1115 cubic metres cut between January 2 and February 14 but with two harvesters operating, including a contractor.

A Lake Wendouree newsletter released to all lake users shows Ballarat City Council’s harvester was unable to be used due to a hydraulic pump fault, a broken seal on the hull and a rowing event. It was only used for nine days in November and 10 in December, compared to 23 in January. The council’s growth and development director Eric Braslis said yesterday down times for service and repairs were common with machinery operated regularly.

“As a result of some lost time, a contractor was engaged to help supplement council’s machine,” Mr Braslis said.

He said the weeds had been harvested in time for the Access Dingy State Titles held last weekend, despite criticism from the Ballarat Yacht Club that sailing had to be moved to View Point’s north side rather than in front of the clubhouse due to the weed quantity and length.

“The area of the lake primarily used for yachting events was harvested during January and February, according to the schedule agreed to by the Lake Wendouree Aquatic Advisory Committee.”

However, Ballarat Yacht Club commodore Paul Crosbie said it was disappointing the sailing had to be moved.

“The competition was virtually out of sight to spectators,” Mr Crosbie said.

Mr Braslis said this weekend’s Head of the Lake regatta would not be impacted by weeds, with the area near St Patrick’s Point to be cleared on Thursday and Friday.

“Council is continuing to operate with two shifts seven days a week to ensure the lake is at its best for recreational users and major events.”

The $472,000 integrated weed cutter and waste compactor truck was brought by the council last August from Aquatic Harvester Manufacturing and Sales.

Since January, the council’s harvester has been working 12-hour shifts on weekdays and eight hours on weekends, while a contractor is working 12 hour days Monday to Friday and eight hours on Saturdays.

Council says this weekend’s Head of the Lake regetta will not be impacted by weeds. PICTURE: KATE HEALY

Council says this weekend’s Head of the Lake regetta will not be impacted by weeds. PICTURE: KATE HEALY