Excavation works begin on lake?s serenity islands
By SAMANTHA TURNBULL
BIRDS will not be the only ones nesting near Lismore Lake, when two islands are built in the middle of the water this week.
Lismore Lake Caravan Park owner Stephen Burke said the wildlife haven should also attract plenty of bird-loving tourists to the region.
"There are phenomenal numbers of hard-core birdwatchers around the world," he said.
"In time, hopefully this won't just be a breeding area for birdlife, but will become a centre for eco-tourism."
Lismore bird sanctuary campaigner Molly Crawford agreed the lake had the power to become a tourism landmark.
"Lismore needs such an arena," she said.
"When the islands are in place and some tree planting has been undertaken, plus new and improved picnic facilities, Lismore Lake will be an attraction for residents and visitors."
The Lismore City Council came up with the project last November in an attempt to provide a haven for the hundreds of birds, including several en- dangered species, that flock to the area.
Council had originally hoped to build three islands in the lake, but higher-than-expected water levels changed that plan to two.
Council planner Alex Wilford said excavation work had begun, in which piles of sand were being scooped from the lake's floor into two large mounds near the southern and north-western banks.
"The islands should be finished by the end of the week and then we'll look at topping up the water in the lake as well," he said.
"We're also looking at building a bird observation deck, but there's no date for that yet."
Once the islands are built, EnviTE Green Corps teams will plant trees in the sand for the birds to nest peacefully.
Mr Burke said his caravan park's permanent residents had welcomed the development.
"They agreed with the council when they made the decision to order powered craft off the lake," he said.
"The construction of the islands will mean their serenity is being maintained."