Lake Daylesford is the jewel in the crown of our town but it has suffered the ravages of time and has been looking tired and aged of late. The changerooms near the spillway have deteriorated and the bleachers had filled with weeds. The walkway leading to the changerooms has capsized. The amphitheatre collapsed after a tree fell two years ago and little has been done to repair it. The grass in Central Springs Reserve which attracts may families and groups for picnics over summer was knee high for most of the season.

In a recent meeting with the Friends of Lake Daylesford*, the Hepburn Shire Parks Team acknowledged that there had been a drop off in maintenance. The storm event last June and the January floods in Creswick required staff to be deployed to recovery operations and the Parks Team was short staffed because of COVID absences.

Pandemic relief State Government Working for Victoria teams had deployed for parks maintenance over the last 18 months and their works around the Lake were extensive and raised people’s expectations. The discontinuation of this program has been equally evident. Similar programs from the Criminal Justice system have been halted due to COVID. It is hoped such programs will resume and the Shire can take advantage of this workforce.

Work on paths around the Lake have commenced with the replacement of granitic sand topping. Drainage issues near mullock heap have also been addressed.

Improved access for people with disabilities to toilets at main carpark has been designed and will be actioned around mid-May. Informal log seating is being considered for the Perrins Street beach area.

A Vegetation Management Plan is being created by the Biodiversity Officer with the help of grants from the CFA for fire management and woody weed control, including fuel reduction with grinding machinery through the adjacent wooded areas. A staged plan to address blackberry and willow on the Mullock heap and the side of Bleakley Street will be part of the biodiversity/vegetation plan for the Lake precinct.

The Grove of Gratitude in Wombat Flat was initially developed as a ChillOut initiative in 2021. This year the project attracted wider community involvement including primary school students, community members and Shire staff. Led by the Biodiversity Officer, the Parks Team undertook preparation for tree planting with clearance of land and more work is about to be started.

Work will commence shortly to repair stonework and improve drainage at the changerooms and beach area. Preparatory work has been done on the amphitheatre. The stone steps will be repaired and a retaining wall will be constructed.

The Chatfield Reserve upgrade has been designed with community input but construction has been deferred to the next financial year because funds were diverted to address the aftermath of the storm and floods.

*Friends of Lake Daylesford is a loose affiliation of local residents who are committed to the Lake. FOLD is a Facebook group with Mary-Faeth Chenery and Frank Page acting as Administrators.