Centre still in limbo after review into ash dam wall


An independent review into Eraring Power Station’s ash dam wall at Lake Macquarie has been criticised for posing “more questions than it provides answers”.

The review was in response to the state government’s controversial decision to abruptly close the nearby Myuna Bay Sport and Recreation Centre in March over concerns of a major earthquake.

Geoscience Australia put the odds of a 5.7-magnitude or above earthquake within 100 kilometres of Myuna Bay, near Wangi Wangi, at one in 5,000 years or more.

The review stated that, from stability analyses completed to date, there was a high probability of the dam wall collapsing if a major earthquake was followed by a heavy rain event.

However, while the review noted a plausible danger to users of the popular Myuna Bay Sport and Recreation Centre, it also stressed the need for more assessment and analyses to determine the extent of this risk.

Eraring Power Station is owned by Origin Energy.

Lake Macquarie Independent MP Greg Piper expressed his frustration at the review, stating it would mean further time in limbo for the centre and its staff.

Mr Piper said Sports Minister John Sidoti had already ordered a further risk assessment but added the results would likely not be seen until September.

 “Unfortunately, the review poses more questions than it provides answers and it fails to determine the actual degree of risk posed to Myuna Bay by a break in Eraring Power Station’s ash dam wall,” he said.

“It is clear the risk is incredibly low, and I believe it did not warrant the immediate closure of the centre.

“There is a degree of risk in everything we do, but we don’t shut everything down or lock everyone up indoors.

“As frustrating as this latest development is, I’m standing firm on the community’s desire to see Myuna Bay reopened as soon as possible and I’m standing firm on the need for Origin Energy to clean up its own backyard, fix its ash dam wall, and compensate the Myuna Bay centre.”

Meanwhile, members of the recently formed Coal-Ash Community Alliance (CCA) hosted a picnic at Myuna Bay rest area on Friday to draw attention to heavy metal pollution and ash waste dumps on the shores of Lake Macquarie.

CCA stated it was mourning the loss of the Myuna Bay Sport and Recreation Centre but was primarily concerned with the accumulating ash waste at Eraring, to the west, and Vales Point, in the south.

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