Formalising a track into Lake Lefroy to unlock the Kambalda salt pan’s land-sailing potential remains too expensive, according to the Shire of Coolgardie.
Lake Lefroy used to attract up to 100 sailors to big meets, and tourism sites still advertise Kambalda as a land-sailing destination despite the fact yachts are rarely spotted on the lake these days.
The issue stems from a 2016 event, where the Public Transport Authority was unable to identify the owner of a level crossing intersecting the only track into the lake, leading to the authority deciding it could not sign off on granting access.
“While we don’t believe continued use of the level crossing in its current configuration poses an undue risk to the community, we cannot formally endorse access to a crossing we do not own, or know the owner of,” a PTA spokeswoman said.
The PTA requested the Shire dedicate Lefroy Road as a public route to overcome the issue.
Shire of Coolgardie president Mal Cullen said the cost of doing so outweighed potential benefits.
“The financial investment for the Shire was estimated at in excess of $1 million to upgrade Lefroy Road to the required standards, with ongoing maintenance costs of over $120,000 per annum,” he said.
The level of community and visitor use was investigated, which demonstrated low usage over the last five years
“The estimated project costs of over $1 million as a starting point could not be justified by council against other projects the Shire is undertaking that demonstrate significant community and visitor benefits.”
Former Lake Lefroy Land Sailing Club commodore John Hawkins-Salt said the Shire could recuperate much of the cost from miners using the road.
“Various mining companies have tenements that this area crosses,” he said.
“The PTA will not sign off on it formally until it is gazetted.
“They wont gazette it, so council has to take control of the road.”
Mr Hawkins-Salt said the lake could attract international land sailors to events every few years if access was formalised.
Despite the lack of formal approval, the PTA has allowed passage over the crossing to access the lake.