“Public safety is paramount” at Lake Kepwari

 The McGowan Government had previously promised to open the lake within six months of taking office, if it won the state election in 2017. Photo: Jeremy Hedley
The McGowan Government had previously promised to open the lake within six months of taking office, if it won the state election in 2017. Photo: Jeremy Hedley

Collie-Preston MLA Mick Murray has urged residents not to use Lake Kepwari before it is declared safe after a Collie teenager was airlifted to hospital following a bodyboard accident on New Year’s Day. 

Just before 4pm, Ashley Shepherd was seriously injured after performing a stunt involving a bodyboard, a rope and a ute at the old open-cut mine. 

The 19-year-old fell off his board before he collided into the sand bar of the lake, landing on his neck. 

Ashley was attended to by the RAC Rescue helicopter and airlifted to the Royal Perth Hospital, where he was treated for potential spinal injuries.

Royal Perth Hospital's head of trauma Dr Sudhakar Rao said Ashley was just a small degree of force away from snapping his neck.

“Ashley was probably just a small degree of force away from snapping his neck,” he said.

He was discharged from hospital late Wednesday night, January 2. 

Mr Murray said it was awful to hear about the accident.

“I am pleased that the young man involved is now out of hospital and recovering well at home," he said. 

“This unfortunate incident occurred when the lake was shut to the public, with the reason being the state government is working to resolve safety aspects.

“Public safety is paramount and, until we get things right, people have to understand that Lake Kepwari is not open to the public at this stage.”

The McGowan Government had previously promised to open the lake within six months of taking office, if it won the state election in 2017.

Mr Murray said work has been progressing towards opening the lake and more updates would be coming soon.

However, Collie residents have been left frustrated as it is still not open for public recreational use.

Collie Police Senior Sargent Heath Soutar said the nobody was allowed at the lake and they were policing the site for any trespassers.