Lithgow City Council Mayor Maree Statham officially opened the Lake Pillans Boardwalk on Saturday 28 May 2022 in front of a hardworking group of land care volunteers.
Originally constructed in around 1990, the boardwalk was completely destroyed in the December 2019 bushfire.
Originally starting life as a water supply dam in 1911 for the nearby Blast Furnace iron works, Lake Pillans served the community as a popular recreational site and swimming hole until falling into disuse in the 1930’s. For a number of decades, slag and ash from surrounding smelters were dumped at the site.
Since the mid-1990s, with funds from the private sector, industry and government and the commitment and hard work of community organisations and volunteers to decontaminate, rehabilitate and reshape the site, Lake Pillans was transformed from wasteland to wetland.
Lake Pillans Wetland Reserve has returned to being a beautiful recreation area, with a walking track circuit, bridges and boardwalk and a vastly improved native woodland, aiming to provide an efficient and effective way to detain floodwater, filter stormwater and create habitat for native wildlife.
“The December 2019 fires brought devastation and loss to many people across the Greater Lithgow area and elsewhere around the state,” said the Mayor. “We all witnessed the loss of homes, property, livestock, natural bushland and most sadly, several lives. The physical evidence is still visible all around us. But so too, the impacts of these fires are still being felt by individuals and communities and will continue to do so for some time. Not always so visible, but very real.”
“The loss of the Lake Pillans boardwalk was a shock, especially I imagine for the community who live close by or who use it regularly. I’m sure we all agree that Lake Pillans is a special place that is visited and enjoyed by many. A very peaceful place too. We are so lucky to have this beautiful natural place, right next to the historic blast furnace ruins. Not only for the benefit of the local community, but fantastic tourist attractions too,” continued the Mayor.
The event was also an opportunity to witness the construction of a shared path standard pathway for walkers, runners and cyclists from near Burton Street to Lake Pillans that was completed in late 2021. This program of works is co-funded to the tune of $1m by the Australian and NSW Governments’ Bushfire Local Economies Recovery Fund (BLERF) which supports jobs in bushfire impacted regions, strengthens community resilience and reduces the impact of future natural disasters.
Since July 2021, Council has been constructing several new sections of shared path along and nearby Farmers Creek to connect with existing pathways. When completed by 30 June this year, the pathway network will extend from Lake Pillans to near Cooerwull Road in the west – a network of approximately 7.5 kilometres. An accelerated program of weed management and native plantings is also being undertaken this year as part of this project.
“This is a great project for our community that will encourage people to exercise, spend time in nature and, we hope, lead to a re-appreciation of the natural waterways we have in Lithgow,” said the Mayor.
“I especially want to acknowledge the members and volunteers of the Lithgow Oberon Landcare Association (LOLA) who have worked tirelessly over the years in partnership with Lithgow City Council and others to transform Lake Pillans from a degraded and polluted site into what it is today. Without the dedication and vision of LOLA, Lake Pillans would be nothing like we see today and probably wouldn’t have a boardwalk either,” concluded the Mayor.