Tap turned on to fill $2.5M man-made lake at Barcaldine
WATER is trickling in from the Great Artesian Basin to fill the $2.5m Barcaldine Recreation Park as the project nears completion.
The project, which has been in the works for the past decade, received State Government funding in 2016.
Excavation of the site at Kurrajong Dr site began in September 2019 and at the beginning of this month, the tap was turned on to begin filling the man-made lake.
Barcaldine State School students helped turn on the tap for the momentous occasion and as children do, they took the chance to take off their socks and shoes and play in the water.
Barcaldine region Mayor Sean Dillion told The Morning Bulletin it was a beautiful sight.
“These children are all products of drought…..they haven’t seen rain or water unless they travel to do so,” he said.
The lake has a maximum water depth of 3.2m with a 2.5km circuit, is 1100m long and 250m wide.
Barcaldine Regional Council is waiting for some more rain before filling it completely so not to jeopardise the town’s water supply.
While filling the facility is the end goal, once the lake reaches a ‘usable stage’ of 900cm to 1.2m, it will be opened to the public.
This will allow for the public to use the facility for things like paddle boarding and swimming, but not for powerboats.
Cr Dillion hoped it would reach this stage around late January to mid-February, hopefully before the end of summer.
“We are really keen for some rain to come,” he said.
The multi-generational project also includes an amenities and cafe block which is almost finished.
Other features include a boat ramp, walk/running/cycling tracks, park shelters, BBQs, seating, a viewing deck, pathways, parkland and playground zones.
On Saturday, 80-plus ‘Barcaldinate’ volunteers from four generations helped plant 4,000 plants in the centre island.
The plants are aimed at increasing visual amenity and wave disturbance.
Another 4,000 are yet to be planted with frangipanis the feature tree and a variety of small shrubs.
Rockhampton’s Neil Fisher was engaged as an arborist to help with the gardening.
Cr Dillion said it was a huge project for the region as it provided opportunities for tourism out of the regular grey-nomad season.
Generally in summer the area struggles to attract tourists or travellers because it is so hot but having a water-based activity will now allow it to do so.
Once fully completed and operational, the facility would be used for water skiing, canoeing, swimming, rowing, sailing and fishing.
“It’s a point of difference, to branch out in something new,” he said.
It also creates an opportunity for physical activity that is not available in Barcaldine.
And for those who don’t want to do physical activities – they can fish or use their boat.
It would also be an enormous boost to businesses that would inturn see the effects of the tourist attraction.
Cr Dillion said it had come at an opportune time as it was expected the international borders would be closed for another 12 months, meaning more people were travelling inside their own backyard.
Just this week there were four caravans in Barcaldine’s main street – normally that is completely unseen in December.
Cr Dillion said the back half of the tourism season had resulted in ‘unparallel numbers’.
“Never seen anything like that,” he said.