Walking around the "iconic recreational precinct" of Wentworth Falls Lake will not be possible for some time.
Much of the east side of the lake will be closed from February 19 "for more than 12 months," a Blue Mountains Council spokeswoman has said.
A new $3.5 million accessible walkway and viewing platform is being built and access from the eastern edge of the lake, at the dam wall to Waratah Road - where a small sealed car park will be built will be shut.
During this first stage, the path along the dam wall will stay open - but access beyond will be restricted. Temporary signage has been installed.
Stage 1 includes the following changes:
- No access at the boat ramp (as construction materials will be barged across the water)
- Much of the eastern side (including dam wall, spillway and current walking tracks up to Waratah Road) shut.
- No access to the spillway bridge and walking tracks to Waratah Road, including paths from Bellevue Rd, Apanie Ln/Lake St. Visitors can walk along the dam wall to the closed spillway. When work on on the dam and spillway start, the dam wall walk will also close.
- A construction compound will be established on the informal gravel car park on Sinclair Crescent, opposite the boat ramp.
Council said it is trying to minimise disruption by delivering the upgrades in stages. The entire works are tipped to take until about March 2027.
A further $2 million of essential work is planned for the dam wall, spillways and weir infrastructure, as safety reviews identified engineering deficiencies.
The boat ramp will ensure better access for Rural Fire Service emergency firefighting operations (extending the ramp out by 15 metres) which will also improve access for other water craft.
There will be 90 lake car parking spaces at the end of all works.
The project received $8.5 million from the NSW Government's Western Sydney Infrastructure Grants Program, the Western Parkland City Liveability Program and a Preparing Australian Communities Local Stream Grant.
Council plans to keep the western edge untouched as it provides a wildlife refuge. Some residents have expressed concerns that more needs to be done about erosion around the entire lake precinct.
The council website has the following dates, but the spokeswoman said only stage one is officially confirmed - in part it is dependent on dam wall investigations.
- Accessible pedestrian walkway and viewing platform: February - July 2024.
- Boat Ramp construction: June 2024 - February 2025.
- Dam and Spillway construction: May 2024 - February 2025.
- Waratah Road carpark: July - September 2024.
- Sinclair Crescent carpark: March 2025 - early 2026.
- Precinct Loop Walk: August 2026 - March 2027.
- Improved recreational facilities: April - July 2026.