Sydney’s western lakes have been closed for swimming even as temperatures soar

A huge swimming area at the foot of the Blue Mountains, which rivals the size of Sydney Harbour, remains off-limits to the public due to “ridiculous bureaucracy”, despite warnings of a sweltering summer to come.

Penrith’s Western Sydney Lakes, which developers plan to turn into the ‘Bondi of the West’ after revitalizing a former quarry site adjacent to the Nepean River, could be the answer to the region’s heatwave.

The waters in Western Sydney’s lakes – formerly known as Penrith Lakes – are considered safe for swimming, but the state government has been accused of dragging its feet.

“Let’s get in,” Penrith Mayor Tricia Hitchens told 7News on Sunday.

“There’s no reason why we shouldn’t get in. This belongs to the people of Penrith. They were promised that after all the mining was done, this would come back to them.

Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue founder Chris Brown noted that Penrith “two years ago (was) the hottest place on Earth” with temperatures reaching 48.9 degrees Celsius.

“We are heading towards a stinking summer,” he told the radio. “This has been the subject of such a ridiculous amount of bureaucracy.”

The expected mini heatwave was an early sign of what western Sydney residents can expect this summer, the lobby group warned on Friday, as it reiterated its calls for increased access to recreational waters in the region.

Temperatures in Penrith, Smithfield and Blacktown are expected to reach 35 degrees this week ahead of a hot, dry summer fueled by an El Niño weather system.

The Australian Institute said in a report last year that western Sydney was “among the worst-hit areas in Australia when it comes to extreme heat.” HeatWatch: Extreme heat in western Sydney.

The report said: “Its inland location at the foothills of the Blue Mountains prevents the cooling effect of the coastal breeze and works to trap heat.”

Human influence exacerbates this problem by removing heat-reducing green spaces and replacing them with materials such as concrete and asphalt. As a result, some western Sydney suburbs are already experiencing temperatures between 8 and 10.5 degrees hotter than eastern Sydney.

Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue chief executive Adam Leto said urban sprawl, a lack of recreational swimming spaces and the high cost of refrigeration meant residents would continue to suffer.

“Western Sydney residents have to travel an hour to get to the beaches of the east because they can’t beat the heat in the west,” Lehto said in a statement.

“There is a council-run pool for every 17,000 people in Randwick, but in Penrith there is a pool for every 108,000 people. We must look for opportunities to open up the waterways in the west to recreational swimming in places like Penrith Lakes and Prospect Reservoir, as well as targeted investment in the refurbishment and ongoing maintenance of the “Our urban rivers, led by Sydney Water, are clean and suitable. Safe for people to take a dip.”

Western Sydney Lakes, a 2,000 hectare development with ambitious plans for a business park, film studios, golf course, beaches and luxury waterfront restaurants, is owned by Penrith Lakes Development Corporation, a joint venture between Boral, Hanson Australia and Holcim Australia.

The three companies previously operated quarries in the area, and joined together in the 1980s to rehabilitate the lands for recreational use.

Jacqueline Voso, chief executive of Penrith Lakes Development, had previously criticized the state government for taking too long to make decisions on planning approvals.

Last month, Ms Fuso criticized the announcement that the NSW Government would accelerate a feasibility study to open Prospect Reservoir, 34km away, to public swimming while western Sydney’s lakes “remain dormant”.

“Prospect Reservoir is one of Sydney’s backup water sources,” Ms Fuso said in a blog post.

“While there are already dams across the state used for drinking and recreational water, the Western Sydney Lakes, a freshwater waterway at the foot of the Blue Mountains, receive little attention as an alternative swimming venue in Sydney.”

Western Sydney “demands more swimming spaces, especially as we move into what is expected to be one of the hottest summers in years,” Ms Voso said.

She said initial investigations by Sydney Water had determined the water quality in Western Sydney Lakes to be “basic contact” or suitable for swimming.

“The Lakes are a purpose-built series of freshwater waterways, set against the backdrop of the beautiful Blue Mountains,” she said.

“In comparison, Prospect Reservoir requires more work to make it suitable for community swimming, let alone provide scenic surroundings.”

NSW Planning Minister Paul Scally has been contacted for comment.

Read related topics:Sydney

(tags for translation) Western Australia

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