DIGGIN? IT: Byron Shire Council excavator driver Ian Cradell digs a channel to empty the lagoon at Clarks Beach yesterday. The
DIGGIN? IT: Byron Shire Council excavator driver Ian Cradell digs a channel to empty the lagoon at Clarks Beach yesterday. The

Byron council excavates beach lagoon

By Patrizia Reimer

FINALLY everyone can take a long deep breath at Byron Bay's Clarks Beach without gagging on the fumes from its malodourous lagoon.

Sparked by a Northern Star story on the eyesore, council officers yesterday moved to empty it. An excavator dug a channel for the foul water to escape.

Onlookers ogled the demise of the fetid pond. Long time resident Keith Elliott said he came down to the beach especially to see it.

"I just heard it was going to be opened up so I thought I'd come and see what all the fuss was about," he said.

"About a week ago I saw it and it was chokkas full of water. Usually it's just a small lagoon at the end but now it's the full length of the beach. Every year it's gotten bigger."

The sheer volume of water created a strong tide as the excavator dug a channel for it to escape, slowly diminishing as the pooled water emptied.

Byron Shire Council's director of asset management services Brett Lee said the work finished about 2pm with one of the two pools completely drained and the other down to about five per cent of capacity.

"We would have needed to do too much excavation to win that last five per cent," he said.

The digging started at about 8am and for labourer Wayne Thompson it made a nice change from his usual roadworks shifts.

"I'm just making sure no-one gets too inquisitive and causes too much trouble. There are plenty of inquisitive people," he said.

"The main thing is we have to make sure we leave it safe." Regular beach user David Greenspan from Cape Byron Kayaks said his work might get a little harder now.

"We're always glad when they drain it but it does help us carry the kayaks across," he said.



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