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Peter Hopper Lake

Peter Hopper Lake at Redleap Reserve, Mill Park is one of the City of Whittlesea's largest water bodies. Built in the mid-1970's, the lake has recently experienced recurrent algae blooms causing the water quality in the lake to decline. While various treatments have had some success in restoring water quality, the effects have not been long-lasting and further work is required to improve the long-term health of the lake.

The City of Whittlesea is committed to providing a long-term solution to rehabilitate Peter Hopper Lake and ensure that the lake can remain a place for the community and wildlife to enjoy for years to come. Council has been working with specialist consultants to provide expert advice and develop a feasible long-term solution for the lake. 

Please see below for further information.

Frequently Asked Questions

When it comes to lakes, it is not uncommon to see water quality decline from time to time, particularly during the summer months when warm water temperatures, combined with low oxygen levels and high nutrient levels lead to algae blooms and bacterial infestations.

Pollutants such as chemicals from garden fertilisers and pesticides that are washed into the lake through stormwater run-off, animal droppings and other debris such as leaves also contribute to a decline in water quality.

Peter Hopper Lake is a large lake and requires substantial rainfall to be able to “refresh” itself frequently. When this doesn’t occur, the water can become stagnant, adding to issues of water quality.

Council has been working to address the poor water quality in the lake in a number of different ways, including adding binding agents to remove excess phosphorous in the water (too much phosphorous can lead to algae blooms), applying a specialised treatment to increase the oxygen levels in the water and installing four air dispersers to help oxygenate the water at its deepest and most stagnant locations.

Unfortunately though, these treatments have not had long lasting effects, and further, more substantial work is required to improve the long-term health of the lake.

Council has partnered with specialist consultants to find the best, long-term solution for the lake to ensure that it remains a beautiful public lake for the community and local wildlife to enjoy for years to come.

In order to fix the ongoing water quality problems experienced at Peter Hopper Lake, substantial work is required.

Following extensive investigations and expert recommendations, the lake will firstly require desilting, which means that the water in the lake will be drained and the silt (mud) and sediment (debris) that has collected in the bottom of the lake over many years will be removed.

In addition, a range of new infrastructure will be built to help filter water flowing into the lake and ensure continuous water movement to avoid the issues currently seen as a result of stagnant water. This includes a new raingarden, and a sediment pond at the lake inlet to help separate fine particles from the main body of water.

Work at the lake is expected to begin in early 2024, when the dry season allows for optimal conditions to desilt the lake and construct the additional water treatment assets.

Given the scale of the works it is expected that the overall construction period, including landscaping works, will take approximately 12 months to complete.

Peter Hopper Lake will be closed for the duration of the construction period.

During this time, the lake will need to be drained to allow for the removal of silts and for the safe construction of the sediment pond and other infrastructure.

The desilting process will require the silt and sediment that is removed from the bottom of the lake to be dried out prior to disposal. As it dries, the silt may have an unpleasant odour, which is caused by natural material breaking down. We will work to speed up this process as much as possible.

Once construction is complete, the lake will be progressively refilled and landscaping (vegetation planting) in and around the lake will take place.

Council has been working closely with ecologists to identify the various wildlife that call Peter Hopper Lake home.

A Wildlife Management Plan will be prepared prior to construction to ensure that all species are cared for to enable safe dispersion or temporary rehoming. This process will take place outside of known breeding seasons.

If you are aware of any wildlife in or around area please add it to the map on this project page.

Council will be preparing a Wildlife Management Plan specific to the White Ibis which nests on the central island in Peter Hopper Lake. We also work with the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action on developing a long-term, localised solution for the birds.

If you see any sick wildlife, please contact Wildlife Victoria on 8400 7300 or visit their website to lodge a request to have the animal attended to.

Please do not handle the animal yourself.

If you see any dead animals in or near the lake, please contact Council on 9217 2170 to have the animal removed safely. 

Please do not handle the animal yourself.

Until work begins on site, we will continue to manage the condition of the lake using the methods we have been using to date.

While the lake currently remains open, we ask visitors to the lake to:

  • Avoid contact with the lake water and keep dogs on a leash. No access into the lake is permitted.
  • Not handle birds or other wildlife.
  • Not feed the birds as this can attract further wildlife to the site.
  • Not fish in the lake.
  • Don’t leave rubbish behind.

If you live in the catchment area of Peter Hopper Lake, these simple actions can also make a big difference:

  • Avoid using lawn fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides on your garden.
  • Wash your car on your lawn or at a carwash that reclaims the water.
  • Avoid washing anything into the stormwater network including soapy water and grass clippings.
  • Do not feed wild birds.

You can also make a difference at the lake itself by making sure that you don’t leave any rubbish and food waste behind that could potentially end up in the water.

Before we begin construction work, we will be working with ecologist on the safe dispersion and temporary rehoming of wildlife from the lake. If you would like to be involved in helping us move or rehome the wildlife, please let us know via our Engage Whittlesea page.

Once the construction work is complete, we will be doing substantial planting and revegetation around the lake as part of the landscaping works. We would love to see as much of the community involved in this aspect of the upgrade. To register your interest in being part of the community planting program, visit our Engage Whittlesea page.