Ducks, coots, a pair of swans and the odd cormorant – it’s perfect weather for the native wildlife to paddle. But the high spring tide and constant rain have made work tricky for the team revamping Worthing’s Brooklands Lake.
Five Rivers Environmental was awarded a contract to carry out the environmental work to revitalise the attraction at the heart of the park in Brighton Road by Worthing Borough Council last summer. Contractors have been busy in the last few months excavating about two swimming pools worth of silt and debris from the bottom of the lake so far to create new banks and an extra islands which will encourage wildlife to return to the area.
It’s a tough job, especially over winter. The task has been made even harder by high spring tides and constant rainfall. Teams hope to get everything complete by spring time.
It comes as more than 750 people have had their say on a survey which will be used to develop a masterplan for future of Brooklands Park. Members of the public have just one week left to give their views on the council-run consultation.
Jacob Dew, operations manager at Five Rivers Environmental Contracting, said: “Works have been quite slow as a combination of high tides and heavy rainfall meant it has been difficult to get the excavators in and the sludge out, particularly between Christmas and the first few weeks of the new year. Despite all the water, we are still carrying on valiantly and continuing to get all the improvements done within the next two months.”
As Mr Dew explained, when the tide is high, the swing valve (a flap that stops the lake being flooded by the sea) closes. This prevents any rain water that comes down the Teville stream from being released to sea, backing up the water in the lake. The more water there is in the lake, the sloppier the silt – which makes the dredging operations incredibly difficult.
To overcome this problem, the team trialled an aqua tractor, a piece of equipment that acts like a suction pump, sucking the silt into giant dewatering bags. But sucking up the sludge has not been as easy as planned, especially as seagulls were pecking holes in the bags of silt. With the weather and the site drying up a little, the excavator has now returned.
Despite the elemental forces, Five Rivers have completed the moving and positioning of silt at the top end of the lake, which is now in the process of drying out and stabilising prior to planting
Over the next couple of months, they will be:
- Continuing dredging operations and making cells around the lake
- Planting reads around the newly formed banks;
- Low level planting around the north of the lake to enable views of the lake;
- Making sure that the island is separated from the mainland by a moat to deter foxes from crossing;
- Strimming the existing vegetation around the lake and through the valley gardens;
- Planting trees and hedgerows on the completed islands
With work to drain and re-landscape the lake in full swing, the council has employed landscape architectural consultants Chris Blandford Associates to produce a masterplan for the entire park. A survey for residents to give their views was launched last week and so far has more than 750 responses. The deadline is Monday February 7.