The 60 hectare lake is a key asset owned and maintained by Sanctuary Lakes Resort Services Ltd (SLRS), a company owned jointly by all lot owners through their owners corporation. The care of the lake is a complex task dealing with a carefully balanced ecosystem.
The lake is maintained to a schedule that addresses the varying requirements of the lake. Four vessels are involved. The paddle-wheeled harvester cuts the seagrass in the deeper water and the more open areas of the lake. This vessel arrived from USA in mid 2014 and has replaced the ASM harvester which has operated on a part-time contract basis for some years doing a similar role.
The harvester has been named M.V. Garry Sleeman in recognition of the considerable expertise, experience and effort contributed by Garry Sleeman since the lake was first built, to establish appropriate procedures and equipment for maintenance of the fragile ecosystem that is the lake.
The two smaller Truxors operate daily and address the shallower areas and the lake edges. As the Truxor is amphibious, it can operate in shallow water if necessary. It can also collect cut grass and floating debris. While it is not designed specifically to collect algal material, it does remove some of this material especially if cut grass is also present.
Both vessels are supported by the barge which receives the cut material from the cutting boats and travels to the compactor truck. The barge has been very successful in increasing the effective working time for both boats.
Our lake management plan requires growing and harvesting of sea grass to remove nutrient from the lake which in turn controls the spread of algae. Scientists regularly sample and test the water quality and make recommendations to manage the paddle-wheel harvester activities.
Two interesting articles on the ecology and inhabitants of the lake have been written by Tom Parkinson in his ongoing series Nature's Rubik which looks at the many aspects of the fabric of Sanctuary Lakes.
These articles can be accessed below:
For operational reasons, it is essential that the day to day activities of the harvesters are flexible to respond to prevailing conditions for maximum productivity and to achieve the service standards set by the SLRS Board. We must achieve the contract requirements on water quality in the SLRS agreement with Melbourne Water. The Board's policy continues to be that each lot owner pays the same owners corporation levy and is entitled to the same level of service as every other lot owner. Maintenance activities will not be influenced by individual lot owners.
The Board asks lot owners living adjacent to the lake NOT to rake seagrass up and store it on land or on the lake wall. The salt content of the seagrass removed in this way kills off plant life on the lake edge. The maintenance staff does not operate a pick-up service for raked seagrass. If you collect seagrass, make your own arrangements for disposal.
Updated December 2016