For more two decades it has been discussed, but work will soon progress to stablise the dam wall at Dumaresq Dam.
Armidale Regional Council will proceed to tender with previously selected contractors for the stabilisation of the wall, and associated works, after councillors unanimously supported the decision at Wednesday's council meeting.
The council will also approach the state government for funding to improve the recreational area at the dam.
At the council meeting, Cr Margaret O'Connor had suggested the funding request be included, and council unanimously supported both the wall work and the funding request.
The council had missed out on a funding opportunity for the dam previously.
Meanwhile, concerns over the safety of the concrete gravity dam wall, built in 1896, have been around for more than 20 years.
They were first brought to the attention of the former Armidale City Council in 1997 following an audit of the dam by the then NSW Public Works Department.
Subsequent reports reinforced the need to ensure that the dam wall meets current Dam Safety NSW standards.
In 2014 Armidale Dumaresq Council commissioned consultants to prepare a report on rehabilitation options.
They presented four options: additional concrete buttressing; post-tensioning the wall with strand anchors; lowering of the dam wall; decommission of the dam.
Extensive community consultation overwhelmingly supported retaining the dam at the height it is today for recreational purposes. This was subsequently approved by council with strengthening by concrete buttressing being the preferred option, but was not actioned.
Last year, the council engaged new consultants following ongoing concerns by council engineers, and the independent peer reviewer appointed by Dam Safety NSW, of the proposed design.
In conjunction with the peer reviewer they have now recommended a variation of the post tensioned anchors option due to an increase in the cost of undertaking the concrete buttressing option.
Mayor Simon Murray said the strengthening of the dam wall had been a long and drawn out process, but was necessary to ensure safety for the community.
"This has been a protracted process for the community, but progress has now been made to move forward with the safest option; the least financial burden for ratepayers and to retain the amenity of the Dumaresq Dam Recreation area for future generations," Cr Murray said.
"Dam Safety NSW has identified Dumaresq Dam as in urgent need of strengthening and as the owner of the dam council must comply.
"The NSW Government has indicated that financial support will be available for this project once the design has been approved," he said.