Local anglers are calling on the new ABC council to speed up improvements to Lurgan Lake.
The appeal comes as a meeting took place between four local angling clubs to discuss issues of low stock and pollution entering the lake via the Flush River.
They had attended a meeting earlier this year at which various representatives, including several from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), attended and decisions were made to carry out tests and explore methods to deal with high ammonia levels.
Despite hints of progress in these meetings, the angling community is eager to know how long it will take for these promises to materialise.
“I am deeply frustrated at the inability of the NI Executive and the local council to work together to resolve the issues affecting angling,” said Steven Powell, Regional Officer for Pike Anglers Club NI. “We were told that the NIEA were responsible for the water quality of the river and, until this was resolved, it would be virtually impossible for fish to flourish in Lurgan Park.” Steven said the issue is having a wider detrimental impact:
“Many anglers are fishing outside Craigavon in lakes and rivers that are not being neglected to the same extent - this is an obvious loss to the local economy. Angling can ease tensions between communities and has the ability to get kids off the street and into sport. Lurgan needs this venue returned to its former glory with a matter of urgency.”
A DOE spokesperson said: “NIEA is aware that the council has recorded elevated levels of ammonia in a culverted stream which enters Lurgan Lake and of the possibility that there may be sewage misconnections entering the stream.
“NI Water is responsible for investigating suspected misconnections and the council has responsibility for managing the lake as an angling resource, including stocking. NIEA has, however, committed to providing equipment which measures Dissolved Oxygen levels to monitor the water quality and has provided advice on improving the quality of the water in the culverted stream before it enters the lake.”