A massive tyre fire at Broadmeadows last month forced the cancellation of sailing classes for intellectually disabled students at neighbouring Jack Roper Reserve.
On January 10, a pile of tyres at an adjoining recycling yard caught fire and burnt for days, sending a plume of smoke into the sky that was visible from the Mornington Peninsula.
Due to the risk of polluted run-off into nearby Merlynston Creek, the Jack Roper Reserve lake was closed to the public.
Since the fire, Melbourne Water, the EPA Victoria, Hume council and the Department of Health and Human Services [DHHS] have advised people to avoid the lake until further notice.
Not-for-profit organisation Sailability, which runs weekly sailing classes for as many as 20 students with intellectual disabilities, was advised to halt classes until water quality can be deemed safe.
Sailing teacher Koos Soeterboek said classes had to be called off last week and the organisation is in limbo awaiting clearance from Hume council to resume.
Mr Soeterboek told Star Weekly they had not been given a timeline for water testing nor an idea of when classes could resume.
“Because we’re working with mentally handicapped people, if they fall in the water, that’s our responsibility,” he said. “Now we’re just waiting for the council.”
Melbourne Water’s regional manager, Cameron Howie, said the authority was assisting Hume council, the EPA and DHHS to assess the water quality, but the advice to avoid contact with the water “still stands”.
Hume council’s Margarita Caddick says the lake will reopen “once DHHS declares that it’s safe”.