The future of Dumaresq Dam and the safety of people downstream are now secure with funding from the NSW Government towards the remediation of the dam wall.
The NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) is providing 50 per cent of the estimated $8.1 million cost with Armidale Regional Council funding the remaining 50 per cent.
The Dumaresq Dam wall had been identified by Dam Safety NSW as not meeting current safety standards and at risk of failure during an extreme flooding event, posing a threat to people downstream.
In 2014 council conducted extensive consultation with the community that overwhelmingly supported the dam remaining at its current height to maintain the popular recreation area.
Interim Administrator Viv May said the recreational area around the dam is considered by the Armidale community as an essential public space with huge potential for development and Improvement.
"It's an area of natural beauty with a wonderful walking track, including parkland areas popular for family gatherings and water activities," Mr May said.
"Redevelopment plans for the recreation area have been drawn up and council is actively exploring funding opportunities."
Detailed designs are now being priced by three contractors.
Extensive investigation by independent experts has determined that post tensioning of the dam wall is the most economic means to guarantee the safety of the wall during extreme flooding events.
It will also minimise any changes to the appearance of the wall.
Work to remediate the wall is expected to commence in early 2021.
When the council took legal action against five of its councillors earlier this year, the hearing was told that some councillors had been angered when they learnt then CEO Susan Law had knocked back an offer of $4 million funding from the state government.
But that funding would have gone towards recreational facilities rather than stabilising work.