An action plan to tackle water quality issues and improving angling in the borough of Craigavon has been welcomed by a local councillor.
Following a public meeting he hosted with local anglers and council officials in January, Lurgan Councillor Colin McCusker has written to both Ministers with responsibility for the issues, namely Mark Durkan MLA and Carál Ní Chuilín MLA.
Commenting on progress so far, Colin McCusker said “Following my letters to both Ministers on behalf of the angling community, I am glad that at long last Ministers have sat up and taken some notice of what local people are saying.
“Meetings have recently taken place with representatives from the Environment Agency, Inland Fisheries and Craigavon Borough Council and a series of action points have been agreed.
The newly elected Mayor of Craigavon continued: “I am glad to see that at long last the authorities recognise that the culverted stream that enters Lurgan Park Lake, known as Flush River, is a major problem and the Environment Agency have agreed re-investigate the source of the pollution and take action.
“There has also been an agreement to install Fish Refuges in the Lakes which will help alleviate the problem of Cormorants, who are having a detrimental impact on the growth of any sustainable fish population in the borough.
“I also welcome the introduction of Bream and Tench to the Lakes, which we hope will be the first phase of growing a quality fish stock in our Lakes.”
Mr McCusker added: “The reality is that while the sport of angling isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, the loss to our local economy by not being able to attract anglers to our area is enormous.
“Lurgan has one of the most beautiful parks in the UK, it is the second largest Urban Park on the island of Ireland, and we have a duty to maximise its potential.
“I will continue to monitor the situation to ensure that we do all we can to once again attract the angling community back to our town.”
The 59-acre man-made lake was created during the famine. At the time of its construction the lake was one of the largest hand dug lakes in Ireland.
The artificial lake was one of the chief improvements to Lord Brownlow’s demesne, and it was during its construction that the term “Lurgan Spade” came into use.
£20,000 was spent on 20 new fishing platforms.
Contents of the lake include tench, pike, bream, roach and carp.