Rubbish state of care at Hutt Lagoon

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Adam PoulsenMidwest Times
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The Hutt Lagoon has become a “must-see” tourist destination, with visitors from around the world flocking to Port Gregory to catch a glimpse of the Pink Lake.
Camera IconThe Hutt Lagoon has become a “must-see” tourist destination, with visitors from around the world flocking to Port Gregory to catch a glimpse of the Pink Lake. Credit: Jon Solmundson

A Geraldton environmental consultant wants to launch a project to better manage natural resources and “unregulated” visitor access at Hutt Lagoon.

Dr Indre Asmussen said the world-famous tourism attraction suffered from poor management and “unresolved governance”.

“We need to retain our iconic Pink Lake, I’m ashamed of how we’re treating it,” she said.

“Many people — including tourism operators — say it’s an issue that needs improvement.”

Though Hutt Lagoon is marketed as a major attraction, including on the Tourism Australia website, critics have pointed out it lacks the facilities to accommodate the flood of tourists it attracts, such as carparks, toilets and rubbish bins.

The site lies on various land tenures, including crown land leases, reserves, unallocated crown land and a dedicated public road.

Part of the area is leased to German chemical producer BASF for the production of natural beta carotene.

Chinese-branded toilet paper found at Hutt Lagoon.
Camera IconChinese-branded toilet paper found at Hutt Lagoon. Credit: Supplied

But a report by The Midwest Times last month about litter problems at the site found no Government department, nor the Shire of Northampton, would claim responsibility for its management.

“We have to sort out some kind of governance,” Dr Asmussen said.

“It needs to have proper visitor access, maybe bins, and signs saying where the nearest toilet is.”

Geraldton Air Charters’ managing director Wendy Mann, who regularly flies tourists over the lake, said it had become a “must-see” destination.

“I believe the viewing areas need to be extended to allow safe access for the many visitors wanting to see the Pink Lake from the ground and more signage is needed,” she said.

“The signage should be... in languages other than English, and should definitely include information in Mandarin and Cantonese.

“Information regarding the nearby public toilets at Port Gregory and the great picnic areas at the beach should be included. Bins and toilets in the viewing area would be great.”

Dr Asmussen said a survey of migratory wading birds that frequent Hutt Lagoon during summer should be carried out “to quantify its biological and conservation values”.

“It’s a special ecosystem,” she said.

“When Birdlife Midwest visited in October, there were hundreds of banded stilts, avocets and other species.”

She said she hoped to have discussions with government departments, the Shire of Northampton, and BASF to develop a natural resource management partnership.

“It’s about sorting out that larger governance, and sitting down and planning all that,” she said.

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