What lurks beneath West Kirby Marine Lake and could cost Wirral Council £500,000 to £1,000,000 to fix?
In one corner of the Wirral was a town called West Kirby.
In the summer holidays families enjoyed the sun and sandy beach at West Kirby and next to the sandy beach was a lake.
On top of the lake people would often be seen windsurfing and sailing.
But beneath the water in the lake a weed had been growing and growing which had led to complaints from those using the lake.
Wirral Council own the lake.
So one Thursday evening on the other side of Wirral, questions were being asked about the lake.
Councillor Brame was “slightly disappointed” that those in charge of the lake hadn’t identified what the weed was yet.
He was told that draining the lake, clearing the sand and taking out the weeds might cost between £500,000 to £1,000,000!
Councillor Johnson brought up the annual Wilson Trophy held on the lake. The Wilson Trophy was a sailing regetta usually over three days with hundreds of races. She was concerned that the longer Wirral Council left it, the worse the lake would get.
The reply to her point was that it was hard finding people that understood the weed in the lake but that as getting permissions was complicated, no work would start until Autumn 2020 at the earliest.
The weed was described as the wet version of Japanese Knotweed!
Councillor Johnson gave her view that was important that councillors in the West Kirby and Hoylake areas were kept informed.
Councillor Cottier asked how the sand had ended up in the lake? There were two ways – one way was the wind blew it in, the other was when the lake was covered by a high tide.
Councillor Norbury asked if there was any other similar lake that had the same problem? Various answers were given, but it was thought that the lake was “unique”.
Councillor Collins asked how long clearing out the lake would last for? The answer given was that even if cleared in 2020, it could still need yearly dredging.
Councillor Cottier asked why the sand and weed from the lake couldn’t be put back in the River Dee? An answer referring to cockle beds and concerns from Natural Resources Wales (Cyfoeth Naturiol Cymru) was given.
Councillor George Davies made a point about the River Dee and pollution. It was pointed out that due to the environmental designations that if Wirral Council disposed of an invasive species in the River Dee or the disposal of the dredged sand damaged the environment, that Wirral Council could be prosecuted by the regulators. So they had to make sure any activities were done legally.
Councillor Hayes asked why couldn’t the wall around the lake be built higher to stop water coming in? However this would mean the water in the lake wasn’t refreshed which could lead to algal blooms in the summer. The height of the wall was precisely set to allow the water to be replenished in summer and not evaporate too much from the lake.
In conclusion David Armstrong (Assistant Chief Executive) said that there was support for doing something with the lake. He referred to the previous draining of the lakes in Birkenhead Park and how the silt from that had been transported to near the B&Q (next to M53 Junction 1) but that the issue regarding the lake in West Kirby was more complicated.
Matters were further complicated by the Wilson Trophy and the bird nesting season, but at some point a capital bid would be made for the work that needed to be done to the lake.
In conclusion the Chair Councillor Tom Anderson asked the Committee to agree with a recommendation to get on with it as soon as possible which was agreed by the Committee.
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