Leaky lake repairs slammed

A CANOE club has slammed temporary repairs to Clevedon’s popular seafront lake as ‘a complete waste of public money’.

Clevedon Canoe Club says the work carried out by North Somerset Council contractors to plug leaks in the walls around Marine Lake has not worked and damage caused by a digger removing a pile of stones from the fragile paddling pool caused it to topple into the sea during Friday’s high winds.

In a letter to the council’s environment group manager, club chairman Alison Holland said it became ‘very obvious from day one the contractors had no idea at all what they were supposed to be trying to achieve’.

She said: “The overall feeling amongst our members is it was no more than a job creation scheme, which clearly cost a great deal of money and achieved absolutely nothing.”

Club members were told during the second day of work that lime mortar used to repair holes in the wall had been washed out by the tide overnight and the next day a different mixture was also washed away.

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Alison also complained the diggers, used to clear mud and silt from the main lake, were ‘far too small and totally inadequate’ and on completion of the work contractors left the main sluice open, allowing water in the newly-refilled lake to escape.

She said: “The wall still leaks in all the same places as it did before and is no more likely to stand up to the continued attack from the sea and the weather, than before the repairs were carried out.”

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Other organisations in the town including the sailing club, model boat club and the amateur swimming club have been inconvenienced by the repairs, having to cancel classes, courses and events.

Alison added: “The works were a wasted opportunity, and a complete waste of public money.

“The main lake is now leaking into the paddling lake which is, in turn, leaking into the sea.

“During the next period of neap tides, we now expect the lake to lose half its volume.”

North Somerset Council has joined forces with community groups Marlens, Clevedon Civic Society and the town council in a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for �440,000 to repair the sea wall in the long term.

North Somerset Council’s environment group manager Gareth Withers, said the council had been requested by Marine Lake enthusiasts Marlens to repair some of the larger holes in the sea wall and is satisfied this has been achieved to a ‘minor level’.

He said the rocks were removed from the paddling pool because they were a danger to bathers, adding that the recent storms were of ‘an exceptional nature’.

He said:“The slabs of concrete that were moved by the force of the sea weighed several tons and the movement of small excavators over the wall is unlikely to have weakened the wall.

“We will monitor the situation regarding any further water loss from Marine Lake to assess if further remedial measures are required.”

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