06 May 2015
06 May 2015
RYAN (Euroa) — The matter I raise is for the Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water. The action I seek is that she tour Lake Cooper and Gaynors Swamp with me and residents of Corop.
The community of Corop would like the minister to consider its request to provide recreational water for Lake Cooper. Given that the minister has recently agreed to provide a 5000 megalitre entitlement for Lake Toolondo in western Victoria on the basis of its recreational value, I think the request of the Corop community deserves thorough consideration.
If the minister agrees to visit with me, she will hear of the recreational value of the lake, which is home to the Victorian Water Ski Association. Indeed I remember boating on the lake as a child. It is also a very popular spot for fishing.
Clem Murphy, the president of the Corop Action Group and a member of the Cornella Local Area Plan Implementation Committee, describes Lake Cooper as the icon of Corop. For many years the community has focused on the lake as a reference point for the community's revitalisation. While Gaynors Swamp has a higher environmental value, Lake Cooper is also of importance, particularly in terms of habitat, and the community feel that there is a strong case for the use of environmental water.
Lake Cooper has had a history of occasionally drying. Anecdotal records suggest the lake dried five or six times in the first half of the 20th century. However, between 1944 and 2003 the lake remained full. When the lake dried in 2003, the community thought it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It came as a shock when the lake remained dry until the central Victorian floods of 2010.
Following the floods the community began to restore the walking tracks and the fences in the belief that the lake would not dry for another 60 years. In recent weeks the lake has dried again. Dust is blowing across Corop from the surface of the lake, and the assets of the Victorian Water Ski Association are stranded.
One suggestion put forward by the community has been filling the lake with opportunity water following a heavy summer rain when water upstream bypasses Goulburn Weir during periods of high flow in the Goulburn River and runs down the river, where it could be captured and put into Lake Cooper. The community believes that putting water into Lake Cooper would provide habitat for waterbirds and native fish; provide recreational opportunities for fishing, sailing, skiing and swimming; and limit the nuisance of dust storms affecting the township of Corop. Furthermore, filling the neighbouring Greens Lake via Lake Cooper would assist with the export of salt.
Finally, members of the Cornella Local Area Plan Implementation Committee would like to reinforce with the minister the fact that the Gaynors Swamp diversion structure is shovel ready and only waits for funding.