Lake Ginninderra is located on the Ginninderra Creek adjacent to the Belconnen Town Centre. The Lake's water is comprised of stormwater discharge from urban and rural areas. It has a catchment of 9,800 hectares, including Gungahlin and eastern Belconnen.
Lake Ginninderra was originally designed as a setting for the Town Centre and a recreation and landscape feature for the Belconnen community. The natural character of the Lake, its foreshores and associated conservation values are greatly valued by the Belconnen community. The Lake is also a popular recreation facility, supporting swimming, canoeing, sailing, fishing and walking.
Lake Ginninderra was established in 1974 with the construction of the Ginninderra Drive embankment over Ginninderra Creek. The Lake has a surface area of 105 hectares and an average depth of 3.5 metres. The Lake has a U shape, forming an extensive central peninsula. The Lake's eastern arm comprises the inflow of Ginninderra Creek, from Giralang down past the naval station to the southern tip of the peninsula. This area comprises extensive wetland and bird habitat for much of its length.
Swimming areas, toilets and barbeque/picnic areas are located downstream of the Ginninderra Drive bridge on the eastern arm, and at Macdermott Place on the north western side of the Lake. Boat ramps are located at Macdermott Place on the north western side and Diddams Close on the north eastern side.
John Knight Memorial Park is located on the south eastern side of the Lake, connecting to the Lake by way of vistas, an island and walkways.
A cycleway/walkway has been constructed around the full periphery of the Lake, linking in with the Belconnen cycleway network at a number of locations.
The Lake provides an important stormwater retention facility, linking the Giralang, Gungahlin, Eastern Valley Way and Benjamin Way drains or waterways to the lower part of Ginninderra Creek.
It is possible for lake water to be used for irrigation of the John Knight Memorial Park area.
A gross pollutant trap (GPT) and small pond are located on the northern inlet end, providing an important facility for intercepting and limiting litter discharged from the Lake, as well as an extension of the wetland habitat zone. The Eastern Valley Way GPT and wetlands at the southern end of the Lake similarly serve to intercept significant amounts of litter discharged from the Eastern Valley Way drain.
Potential hazards associated with the facility
Elevated water flow velocities in the vicinity of the Ginninderra Drive spillway at times of heavy rainfall represents a potential safety hazard. Fences and a floating boom have been installed to exclude the public from this area.
Given their urban runoff water source, from time to time, urban lakes may be subject to health hazards such as toxic blue-green algal blooms or high faecal bacteria counts. The water quality of the lakes is monitored by health and environmental agencies who issue public health warnings in the event of toxic blue-green algae or faecal bacteria representing a potential risk to health.
Lake edges have been gently graded along areas of deep water to avoid sudden drops. Exceptions to this treatment are the formal masonry walls adjacent to the Town Centre/Emu Bank area, and the police jetty.
Graded edges also minimise the potential for the Lake to become a local mosquito nuisance.
The shoreline of Emu Inlet has been dramatically reshaped to extend public park land that improves recreational access to the shores of Lake Ginninderra from the Belconnen town centre and adjacent development. The new curved lake wall has resulted in better water circulation that has eliminated odours in the inlet.
The complex and considerable stormwater work involved extending five large existing stormwater pipes to direct stormwater away from the shoreline and well into the Lake. This has improved the appearance of the foreshore and reduced maintenance because less water borne litter collects.
The generous grassy bank that has been constructed behind the Lake wall transitions gently to the water from street level at Emu Bank and from the neighbouring Belconnen Arts Centre as well as other surrounding areas which include medium density residential development. The spaces provide opportunities for individual and group recreation and are large enough for big organised events. The grass is being watered by a new irrigation system using lake water.
A wide new pedestrian path to and along the lakeshore has been constructed and lights have been installed along this. Twelve new seats have been installed and seating walls have been constructed. Forty four new trees have been planted to shade the new paved pedestrian link from the Belconnen Arts Centre and Evelyn Parker Place to the west of the parkland.
This upgrade is the first stage of works to improve recreation amenity at Emu inlet. The design for a second stage of works that completes the landscape amenity with more paths, steps, lights, seats and power bollards for events was completed in July 2013. This design will be constructed when funds become available in the future to do this.
The completed works significantly improve recreational opportunities, public safety, security, amenity, water quality and usability of Belconnen Lakeshore and Emu Inlet. Links to other recreation and functional areas in the Belconnen Town Centre continue to be improved.
The Emu Inlet upgrade is the third part of a program that continues the ACT Government's initiative to improve opportunities for public recreation on the lakeshore close to the Belconnen Town Centre.
The public realm at Eastern Valley Way Inlet has also undergone significant change with the refurbishment of the Belconnen Skate Park in 2011 and more recently in 2013 with the conversion of the inlet into a wetland designed to filter stormwater through reed beds before it enters Lake Ginninderra. This wetland and the plants within it form habitat for water birds and animals. As part of this work a new bridge replaces the old bridge and links the Emu Bank commercial area with Ginninderra College on the opposite side of the lake. The bridge timbers have historic significance as they are recycled from the old Tharwa bridge. Nearby a new toilet block replaces the old toilet facility with construction completed in mid 2013.