The Burwood Colliery Dam was constructed in the late 1800s in Whitebridge, Lake Macquarie. It is just west of the Fernleigh walking and cycling track, near Whitebridge High School.
Burwood Colliery Dam no longer operates as a water supply dam. As a result, Crown Lands will investigate the removal of the dam and rehabilitation of the land to a near natural state.
The dam currently acts as part of the local stormwater system, reducing the concentration and speed of stormwater flows. This means sediment in the stormwater is deposited into the dam.
It is likely the dam will eventually silt up and become swampy land, like an artificial seasonal wetland.
Major and costly repairs would be required to extend the life of dam structures, including the wall and spillway.
Ongoing maintenance and monitoring would also be required to avoid dam failure which, if occurred, could result in environmental damage.
As the spillway is currently unguarded and can be accessed by the public, Crown Lands will install safety barriers on either side in the short term (mid-to-late 2022) to improve public safety.
We would like to thank the local community for their feedback around the future of Burwood Colliery Dam and its surrounds. More than 60 people attended 2 drop-in sessions held at Whitebridge High School in August and provided useful information and feedback.
We have heard from the community that there is much value placed on the area for its natural amenity, especially for the water that the dam holds, and for the wildlife that live in or visit the site, such as birds, frogs and reptiles. We also note there is a level of appreciation for the historic value of the dam, and the historical use of the area as a colliery.
We also appreciate the role that the dam wall and spillway have provided for access between the Fernleigh Track and Lonus Avenue.
We are considering next steps and have completed community consultation for now.
In the short to medium term, we will determine the steps required to develop concept options for the future of the dam and investigate the status of land adjacent to the dam and the potential for the use of that land for a shared footpath and crossing.
We will consult with the community again on any future plans about the dam.
The Consultation Outcomes Report (PDF, 5.11MB) details the consultation activities and the feedback that we received.
Access across the dam wall and spillway
While we appreciate that the dam wall and spillway are used for access to and from Lonus Avenue, the safety issue cannot be ignored.
We will be installing signage to make it clear that access is not permitted and to discourage the use of the dam wall and spillway.
In the short term, we will investigate the installation of a raised boardwalk over the spillway, and a more formalised path to Lonus Avenue to provide safer pedestrian access. This would involve clearing a path within the property owned and managed by Crown Lands, (slightly to the north) as opposed to the location of the current informal track that is not on Crown land.