Several member of FOLA (Friends of Lake Apex), led by Alan Wearing, and Rob and Jocelyn Wilson gave a comprehensive account of the history of Lake Apex and particularly the work their group has undertaken since its inception. FOLA is a non-profit volunteer organisation committed to the preservation, protection and prom-otion of the environmental and passive values of the Lake Apex Parklands at Gatton.
Although Lake Apex was initially developed by the Apex Club of Gatton in the early seventies, FOLA only became an active group following the public outcry over the secretive removal, by the Council, of the trees on the western island in the lake in 2009. Since then they have worked tirelessly to promote the environmental values of Lakes Apex and Freeman.
The speaker outlined various promotional events that have been held to publicize their cause. Some of these include photographic displays in the Cultural Centre, Open Day morning teas at the Lake, public speaking, production of a calendar in 2011, a bird photography workshop and bird watching tours assisted by Toowoo-mba Bird Observer members.
A major breakthrough in negotiations with the Council was the forming of the Lake Apex Community Advis-ory Committee, by the Lockyer Valley Regional Council. FOLA has three representatives who attend these meetings. This led to the development of the Lake Apex Master Plan in December 2011.
In 2010 FOLA adopted the development and maintenance of the Dry Rainforest Arboretum as a project and despite some major setbacks, notably repeated vandalism, they can be proud of what they have achieved. Hundreds of trees have been planted, and sometime replanted by them, often with the help of various volunteer community groups.
The speaker also outlined some of the unpleasant political issues the group has had to cope with including:
- Council's lack of general maintenance of the Park
- Indiscriminate clearing of the Lake edge vegetation
- Stormwater run-off into the Lakes from a nearby housing development which is adversely affecting the water quality and plant growth in both Lakes.
In March 2012 FOLA, in conjunction with Birdlife Southern Queensland, released two excellent brochures which are now widely available. These are: Bird Places of the Lockyer Valley and A Guide to the Birds of Lakes Apex and Freeman. Those of us who attended the excursion to the Lakes on the following Sunday saw firsthand the results of the wonderful work this group is doing.
(Written by Tricia Allen)