Can you dig it? Blue Lake work rolls on as part of Jenolan upgrade

WORK SITE: Jenolan Caves CEO Jodie Anderson and Member for Bathurst Paul Toole at Blue Lake, where silt is being removed and a boardwalk will be constructed around the site.
WORK SITE: Jenolan Caves CEO Jodie Anderson and Member for Bathurst Paul Toole at Blue Lake, where silt is being removed and a boardwalk will be constructed around the site.

ABOUT 10,000 cubic metres of silt has been dredged from the Blue Lake at Jenolan Caves as the Oberon district tourist precinct gets a multi-million dollar makeover.

But it's not easy work due to the challenges of the terrain.

Member for Bathurst Paul Toole has been at the site with Jenolan Caves general manager Jodie Anderson and construction experts to see the magnitude of the project first-hand.

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The work on the lake is part of more than $20 million worth of upgrades to the Jenolan Caves precinct that the NSW Government says will breathe new life into one of the state's premier tourist destinations.

Mr Toole said the valve at the bottom of the spillway was under more than four metres of silt and the actual water level was quite shallow because of the build-up.

"So far, about 10,000 cubic metres of silt has been dredged from Blue Lake and it's now down to the bedrock," he said.

It's now down to the bedrock.

"You really have to admire the work of Public Works Advisory project manager Wayne Bell and his team in driving this project because of the highly sensitive, difficult and challenging environment they are working in.

"A special road had to be built to get access to the site and then it had to be covered with steel sections to stabilise the pathway for use by heavy machinery."

Mr Toole said work started in mid-July, although rain caused a halt to operations for six weeks.

"The good news is work is pressing ahead now and it's anticipated that another six months will be needed to complete the vision for this makeover," he said.

"There's also plans to build a boardwalk around the perimeter of Blue Lake as well as linking it to a viewing platform which stretches out across the water.

"I couldn't think of a more spectacular spot for visitors to take photos or even for special events and wedding parties to use it for official photos."

Mr Toole said the NSW Government is investing more than $20 million into the Jenolan Caves precinct.

Other upgrades include additional walking tracks and lookouts across natural bushland; an education visitor centre and field studies centre; and major refurbishments to historic 1880s-era Jenolan Caves House.

Once completed, it is expected the upgrades will mean close to 400,000 people will be able to visit Jenolan Caves every year, Mr Toole said.

Jenolan Caves now has The Temple of Baal and the Orient Cave open for tour bookings for limited numbers.