Questions over bird faeces

Nolan Grace after scoring his fifth try.
Nolan Grace after scoring his fifth try.

In 2011, a test organised by the original managers of the centre, the Armadale Redevelopment Authority, found waterbird faeces was the cause of spikes in thermophilic amoebae.

Manager VenuesWest, which now manages the centre, has not commissioned such a detailed test, although it spends about $200,000 annually on water quality testing.

The centre bans swimming when bacterial levels exceed guidelines and also activities such as rowing if the levels are particularly high.

On Monday, May 6, the centre was closed to all activity but despite attempts by Comment News from Thursday, May 9, to find out which bacteria was recorded at high levels, a response from VenuesWest has not been received. The centre reopened for secondary activity on Friday, but swimming was still banned yesterday.

On April 19, VenuesWest chairman Graham Partridge said varying bacteria levels were a result of the fauna population that had steadily grown over the life of the venue.

Last Thursday, City of Armadale chief executive Ray Tame said the City was aware that all managers of large water bodies for elite sports experienced water quality problems from time to time.

‘The Olympic Regatta Centre at Penrith had major problems prior to the Sydney Olympics and Champion Lakes is designed to be isolated from the natural water environment to avoid the issues that plagued Penrith,’ Mr Tame said.

But a DEC spokeswoman told Comment News on Friday the bacterial issues were common for ponds and small lakes, particularly during and after a hot, dry summer. ‘While Champion Lakes Regatta Centre acts as a haven for water fowl, it would be unusual for high bacteria levels in such a large body of water to be attributed to bird faeces,’ she said.

Bird numbers were unknown at Champion Lakes Regatta Centre but swans, ducks, pelicans and cormorants may be seen there.

Coots and native hens would live and breed at the site, she said.

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