When the Maylands Brickworks closed in 1983, the disused clay pits from which it sourced its material, gradually grew into pseudo wetlands, inhabited by frogs, turtles, snakes etc, and a wide variety of birds including migratory species, as well as native flora. Significantly, the Environmental Protection Authority classified them as “modified wetlands whose existing wetlands function was to be retained”. Bungana Lake and Lake Brearley were established on the wetland in 1998, as part of the Satterley Group’s Maylands Peninsula development. The lakes’ creation was solely in response to residents’ opposition to the destruction of the existing wetlands and their threats to stall or even sink the project.
Unfortunately, the nutrient stripping basins meant to filter out the inflow of water from surrounding drains, which were touted as a key feature of the development, were never installed, presumably because they would have occupied too much saleable land. This along with the fact that no routine water quality testing or preventative maintenance was undertaken for the ensuing eighteen years, despite the lakes’ increasingly evident deterioration since 2012, culminated in the near collapse of the lakes.
One of the first initiatives of the FOML was to urge the City to commission a detailed report on the health of the lakes. The report prepared by independent consultants Essential Environmental was highly detailed and its recommendations form the foundation of the remediation plan.