LAKE Wendouree has been touted as the heart of Ballarat, where people gather for sporting and recreational activities, as a venue to catch up with family and friends and as one of the most picturesque vistas in the city.
However, until a few years ago, it was a very different story. The lake was dry after suffering a decade of drought.
But the combination of heavy rains and refilling projects in recent years have resulted in Lake Wendouree returning to its yesteryear glory.
But at what cost?
City of Ballarat councillor Samantha McIntosh has been asking that question for more than six months.
Cr McIntosh said yesterday she had yet to see a report on the costings of Lake Wendouree she asked for in the council chamber in February.
The report was to break down the cost of dredging the lake, installing buoys, cutting weeds and reinstating water levels following the drought.
“I just want to be reassured it is an appropriate spend,” Cr McIntosh said.
“We’ve had a lot of conversation about it, which is fine, but people just want to be reassured.
“There are questions about the weed cutting and questions about the dredging. We need to make sure we follow up on the questions people want answered.”
Cr McIntosh said she asked for the report to come back to a councillor assembly meeting and then be made public.
It was predicted the report would be presented at the March 14 council meeting.
“I just want the breakdown clarified on everything we’ve spent on the lake.”
Cr McIntosh said it had also taken several months to get back reports on effects of a dry Lake Wendouree on the Ballarat community, tourism and economy.
However, a council spokesperson said Cr McIntosh had received a verbal briefing.
“Councillors will receive the same briefing at an assembly meeting prior to the end of this term of council,” the spokesperson said.
“The financials of all projects are reported on a quarterly basis in the financial reports to council.”
However, the council’s quarterly financial reports only detail costs of rowing infrastructure, the Lake Blitz and Lake Wendouree upgrades, rather than specific weed cutting, dredging and buoying expenses.
Controversy over the Lake Wendouree redevelopment has included the hiring of a $30,000 New Zealand consultant to get the rowing course up to scratch for the 100th Head of the Lake, weed cutting and dredging delays and issues over the state of the course for a national canoeing event in January.