Wrexham lake clean-up volunteers under fire

Reporter:

Reg Herbert

VOLUNTEERS including children who regularly clean up a picturesque village lake have been accused of destroying plant life and wildlife.

The allegation has been made by local resident Peter Smith, who has called on the community council to halt the clean-ups for at least two years at the lake in Gresford.

In a letter to Gresford Community Council, Mr Smith said every year a group of people took it upon themselves to cut back trees, bushes, scrubs, flora and fauna around the lake and its confines.

Over the last few years he claims it had been done so aggressively that vegetation was not able to grow back as it should.

The letter read: “At the end of the lake, as you turn in from High Street towards the Scout hut, the corner area had been cut back so much people are able to walk through. I have seen youths and children cycling through.

“The area at the end of the lake by the Nail Bar is just a mud flat were once beautiful bull rushes grew.

“The whole of the lake area provides ducks, birds and wildlife with places for nesting and breeding. The wildlife has become less prolific because of the way in which the area has been butchered.”

Mr Smith, who lives near the lake, claims a majority of ducks, now in their breeding season, have no place to rear their broods.

He says many birds are found in people’s gardens and wandering along the High Street in an attempt to find shelter.

He adds: “Myself and a large number of residents feel very strongly about the matter and agree the lake should be left for at least two years to allow the area to return to its former beauty.”

Marion Williams, co-ordinator of the clean-up and an active member of Wrexham Bird Watchers, said: “It would be inappropriate to comment on Mr Smith’s letter. It takes us two days to clean up the lake and a number of children are involved. We don’t go in the water but remove anything that should not be there. Wrexham Council removes the rubbish when we have finished.

“During the bad weather we break up the ice for the ducks and have put down a number of bird nest boxes. Local residents from around the lake provide refreshments during the clean-up.

“We have also planted a lot of plants and we believe we are doing the clean-up for the good of the community.”

Community Cllr Andrew Bailey, one of the group members who clean the lake, said: “I think Mr Smith is well meaning but it is a pity he didn’t talk to the residents before writing to the council.

“I hope we can continue to clean up the lake and keep it the fine resource it is for the village. I think it was the very cold weather which damaged the plant life.”

Maurice Paddock, clerk to the community council, said councillors decided to seek advice from the Countryside Council for Wales and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

See full story in the Leader

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