City of Mount Gambier has today (Monday 14 February 2022) reopened Davison Drive, the Valley Lake Conservation Park, playground and picnic areas and Freemans Landing for public use after a fire that burned 50 hectares of grass and scrub in the Crater Lakes precinct in January 2022.
The second stage of the phased reopening process follows ongoing damage and risk assessments in the area.
“I am sure our community will be pleased to hear that people can access Davison Drive, the Valley Lake Conservation Park, playground and picnic areas and Freemans Landing once again,” City of Mount Gambier CEO Sarah Philpott said.
Recreational activities are not permitted on the Valley Lake as ongoing water quality assessment continues.
“We estimate about 400,000 litres of water was removed from the Valley Lake as a result of firefighting efforts, reducing the level of the lake by about 120mm. The lake will be reopened for activities once assessments are complete.”
Additional signage, temporary fencing and bunting has been installed along Davison Drive to ensure people stay away from fire affected areas.
“Brownes Lake, Centenary Tower and the pines area are expected to remain closed for some time and Council will assess these areas when it is safe to do so.”
“There are currently safety issues and considerations regarding the stability of the slope at Haig Drive. The fire destroyed vegetation and erosion is already occurring which means that landslides could happen on the slope during a wet weather event. Council will engage a geotechnical consultant to provide a stability assessment in the area.”
The animals within the Valley Lake Conservation Park have been assessed by a vet to be in good health.
“It doesn’t appear that the animals have been impacted by fire, smoke or stress,” Ms Philpott said.
“Council also worked with local native animal carers to assess the welfare of the wildlife and they suggested that we place water tubes around the edges of the fire affected areas for animals that may still be located in inaccessible burnt areas.”
“A member of our Parks and Gardens Valley Lakes team created some fit for purpose water tubes and six have been installed throughout the area.”
In consultation with the Metropolitan Fire Service (MFS) and SAPOL, reduced speed limits on Grant Avenue have been increased to 60 kilometres per hour and 40 kilometres per hour from the Blue Lake Golf Club to Carinya Gardens Cemetery.
“The 25 kilometres per hour signs were readjusted to 40 kilometres per hour signs and the 40 kilometres per hour signs were increased to 60 kilometres per hour.”
“The speed limits are in place due to the public risk that is still present in the area, including smouldering hot spots, falling trees and limbs.”
The fire was first reported at about 2:30am on 25 January 2022 after flames were seen near Centenary Tower. It was contained by emergency services on Wednesday 26 January 2022 and the Crater Lakes precinct was returned to the care and control of Council on Thursday 27 January 2022.
Media contact: City of Mount Gambier Media and Communications Coordinator Sharny McLean on 8721 2401 or firstname.lastname@example.org