A Lake Macquarie water ski club moved by a generator and the government fears an earthquake could trigger the collapse of a huge coal ash dam wants to restore access to the lagoon.
- Myuna Bay Sports and Recreation Center was closed without warning in 2019
- The state government closed it over fears that a nearby coal ash dam could pose a risk in an earthquake
- The local water ski club wants to take any risk and come back to the site
In 2019, a report from Origin Energy on the possible consequences of an earthquake near its Eraring power plant site prompted the NSW government to shut down the sports center overnight and Lake Macquarie’s Myuna Bay Recreation Center.
At the time, Origin Energy said the risk of its massive ash dam bursting in the event of an earthquake was so high that the center would have to be relocated.
The decision to close the center came in the midst of an international water ski event on Whiteheads Lagoon.
He followed a 2002 earthquake risk assessment for Lake Macquarie compiled by analysts at Geoscience Australia who identified entire suburbs at risk due to the ash dam in the event of an earthquake.
For decades, the Myuna Bay center has attracted over 20,000 children from across New South Wales to its school camps each year.
Water skiing in difficulty
Myuna Bay Water Ski Club President Peter Atkinson still remembers the day it closed like it was yesterday.
“Everyone was just in shock, it was like ‘are you serious?’ I’ve never experienced anything like it, âhe said.
In July of last year, the state government announced plans for a new site a mile away, offering a range of specialized programs and activities, including water sports.
But Mr Atkinson said Whiteheads Lagoon, at the old site, is second to none in terms of relevance.
“Without Myuna Bay, sport is struggling in New South Wales.”
Mr Atkinson said the new site would not be suitable and called on the government to restore access to the lagoon.
“[The new site] is not closed so you have fishing boats, speed boats, wakeboard boats. So that won’t suit us, âhe said.
Mr Atkinson said any risk to club members would be minor and they would be willing to take.
“We are all adults and we don’t ski in adverse conditions. We are not there at night and we are only there for two hours at a time each during the day,” he said.
Lake Macquarie MP Greg Piper supported the club.
“I agree with them that Whiteheads Lagoon is probably second to none, certainly in our region, and probably in Australia,” he said.
Origin Energy said the Office of Sport continues to advance regulatory approval for the new Myuna Bay sports and recreation center.
The Sports Bureau has been approached for comment.