Concerns over state of city’s other lake

August 5, 2022 BY

Worse for wear: The steps to the upper park are eroded, and could cause users to trip. Photos: EDWINA WILLIAMS

COMMUNITY concerns have been raised regarding the City of Ballarat’s maintenance of Lake Esmond’s surrounds.

The steps to the upper park are eroded, picnic tables are damaged and falling apart with metal spikes sticking out of them, wooden edging and retaining walls are disintegrating, and ivy is taking over native trees.

A big, uprooted tree also remains partially in the lake near the main Larter Street entrance, many months after the storm that caused it to fall.

Sharyn, a nearby resident who regularly walks her dog around the lake, said it could be a much more user-friendly space.

“As a public area, the lake and surrounds need to be safe, and preferably presentable. The steps are slip hazards, and the picnic tables are not safe or nice for families going there,” she said.

“It’s very close to Sovereign Hill and a caravan park which attract international visitors. There are some very nice areas to sit, but it needs maintenance. It reflects on Ballarat poorly.

Metal strips are pointing out of one of the perishing wood-top picnic tables.

“There are also many trees with fallen branches. More maintenance is needed to clean up and check for the potential incidents for fallen branches.”

City of Ballarat director of infrastructure and environment Bridget Wetherall said she was aware of the concerns, and municipal officers will be proactive to ensure the lake remains a “wonderful asset.”

“Our parks and maintenance teams continue to monitor Lake Esmond and our other outdoor spaces regularly for safety and maintenance,” she said.

“The two picnic settings at Lake Esmond along Larter Street are being replaced this financial year, and we look forward to providing the new tables for the community, which will match the settings at the play-space.

“Our maintenance teams will remove the ivy from any native trees, and this will occur in the coming month. The retaining wall will be inspected, and the necessary repairs will be undertaken.

“The pine steps are unfortunately prone to natural erosion due to their material, and individual steps have been replaced over time since their installation. Our maintenance teams will continue to monitor them for erosion, replace as required and look for other options to address the natural erosion.”

Ivy is taking over some of the native trees.

Although the steps are a direct link between the lake foreshore and upper park, she said visitors can also use the two other accessible paths.

While on a walk around the lake, local resident Graham Gooding said the precinct deserves a different, broad approach from the municipality.

“There needs to be a new plan for the lake and the people who use the park for recreation,” he said. “It also needs more of a lower tree story.”

Although Sharyn had some criticisms, she emphasised the positives. She said the south-east section of the reserve, which includes a playground, is kept in “immaculate” condition.

She suggested, much like at Lake Wendouree, that dog waste bag dispensers could be installed by paths.

The City’s facilities team recently worked on the lake’s jetty, installing new handrails, and will soon replace decking boards.