WATER will return to Lake Terang for the first time in more than half a century under a new vision to revitalise the precinct.
Samples have been tested from the dry lakebed to assess the possibility of bringing water back, with positive results for a section near the old St Thomas’ Church to the precinct’s southern edge.
Terang Progress Association president and steering committee member Michael Reicha said water would return to a relatively small area of the lakebed to create a unique focal point.
“It’s still in its infant days but things are looking very positive,” he said.
Water was drained from Lake Terang in the 1960s and Mr Reicha said re-filling a section would not signal a return to the lakebed’s muddy past.
“A lot of people remember the lake as swampy and mosquito-ridden,” he said.
“But we want a water system that is functional. We want a water system, not a stagnant pond.”
The water feature will be the jewel in the crown of an initiative to transform the lakebed into the town’s community-friendly recreational heart.
Mr Reicha said the overall vision was to incorporate walking tracks and other features around the wetlands.
“We’re keen to having viewing platforms around the area and signage is being developed about Terang and the lake,” he said.
Retired environment academic John Sherwood has also come on board to help plan the project.
“John Sherwood has met with us and he’s happy to help us. He’s been talking to us about the flight paths of birds and how it could be vegetated,” Mr Reicha said.
Experts from Ballarat’s Thomson Hay Landscape Architects, which has been hired to help develop a masterplan for the precinct, are expected to inspect the site in coming weeks and will develop a plan for the area.
“It will be interesting to see what they come up with,” Mr Reicha said. “It’s only limited by their imagination.”
Mr Reicha said the park’s trustees were fully supportive of the plans and the committee was keen to work with other stakeholders.
“We don’t want to infringe on anyone, it will complement and enhance what’s there,” he said. “It’s all pretty positive at the moment.”
The masterplan will focus on 5.66 hectares (14 acres) of land between the town’s pony club, cricket club and golf course, and land at the western end of the precinct.
Mr Reicha said developing the lake precinct was highlighted as a priority in the Terang town plan.
“It was rated by the town as number two for what they wanted to see. Number one was the streetscape and the shire has done a great job with that,” he said.
A $30,000 state government contribution and $12,000 from Corangamite Shire is helping fund the precinct’s masterplan.