The picturesque Blue Lake at Jenolan Caves is set to become a major drawcard in its own right thanks to multi-million dollar funding from the NSW Government.
Blue Lake is currently undergoing a spectacular makeover with heavy machinery on site dredging thousands of cubic metres of sand and silt from the upper reaches of waterway’s spillway.
Member for Bathurst Paul Toole has been onsite with Jenolan Caves general manager Jodie Anderson and construction experts to see first-hand the magnitude of the project.
The work is part of more than $20 million worth of upgrades to the Jenolan Caves precinct aimed at breathing new life into what is recognised as one of the state’s premier tourist destinations.
Mr Toole said the valve at the bottom of the spillway was under more than four metres of silt with the actual water level quite shallow because of the build-up.
“So far about 10,000 cubic metres of silt has been dredged from Blue Lake and it’s now down to the bedrock,” he said.
“You really have to admire the work of Public Works Advisory project manager Wayne Bell and his team in driving this project because of the highly sensitive, difficult and challenging environment they are working in.
“A special road had to be built to get access to the site and then it had to be covered with steel sections to stabilise the pathway for use by heavy machinery.”
Mr Toole said work started in mid-July, although rain caused a halt to operations for a six week period.
“The good news is work is pressing ahead now and it’s anticipated that another six months will be needed to complete the vision for this makeover,” he said.
“There’s also plans to build a boardwalk around the perimeter of Blue Lake as well as linking it to a viewing platform which stretches out across the water. I couldn’t think of a more spectacular spot for visitors to take photos or even for special events and wedding parties to use it for official photos.”
Mr Toole said the NSW Government is investing more than $20 million into the Jenolan Caves precinct to ensure it continues to remain one of the state’s premier tourist destinations, especially once post-COVID restrictions start to ease.
Other upgrades include additional walking tracks and lookouts across stunning natural bushland; an education visitor centre and field studies centre; and major refurbishments to historic 1880s-era Jenolan Caves House.
Once completed, it is expected the upgrades will mean close to 400,000 people will be able to visit Jenolan Caves every year.