South Australia’s iconic Little Blue Lake is a beautiful swimming hole that attracts thousands of people from across the globe, but locals say human waste is piling up on its perimeter and the nearby car park.

The sinkhole, known for its stunning blue-green water and unique geographical surrounds, is located in a paddock between two dormant volcanoes.

It attracts plenty of visitors, but there is no public toilet at the site and South East local Ockert Le Roux, who has been involved in tourism bodies in the region, said the pristine sinkhole was being contaminated with human faeces.

He said Little Blue Lake was swarming with visitors during the Easter long weekend.

The lake sees plenty of visitors, but it seems many are being caught short.(Supplied: Ockert Le Roux)

“I estimated there was 1,000-plus, maybe up to 1,500 people, who visited on those two days,” Mr Le Roux said.

“I took my kids for a swim — that’s what you do when it is warm outside.

“I did not swim, I walked around the perimeter.

“I was appalled and shocked to see the state of what was presented.”

Amateur photographer Ockert Le Roux is a forester by trade.(Supplied: Ockert Le Roux)

‘I have visuals’

Mr Le Roux said human waste had built up in high density.

“When you make these assets available to the public and visitors alike, you should have hygiene control in check and in place,” he said.

Mr Le Roux said many visitors spent three to four hours at the site and that he saw human faeces in the car park and “littered along the perimeter”.

“I have visuals of that faeces found inside the water,” he said.

Mr Le Roux said the situation was causing reputational damage to the region’s tourism sector.

He suggested people were conducting their bowel movements in the water or under the cover of darkness.

Mr Le Roux said authorities had two options moving forward — close the facility because of the hygiene problems or provide basic facilities.

He said there had been significant investment into promoting the region’s sinkholes, including the famous Umpherston Sinkhole.

“Once they promote it, people are going to come here and plan their holidays,” Mr Le Roux said.

The Little Blue Lake is a sinkhole that is popular for swimming, despite its 11 degrees Celsius water.(ABC South East SA: Bec Whetham)

‘Quite shocking’

Resident and Kilsby sinkhole tourism operator Graham Kilsby called for action during a District Council of Grant meeting on Monday night.

“I think it is fantastic that we use the Little Blue Lake to promote the region, but at some point we have to start looking after it,” he said.

He said tourists had told him they had seen human faeces at Little Blue Lake.

“One of my customers saw somebody using the area as a toilet,” Mr Kilsby said.

“They felt very embarrassed and left.

“Something needs to happen and it is not something we can continue seeing.”

Swimmers use steps to access the Little Blue Lake.(Suppled: Ockert Le Roux)

Mount Gambier and District Residents and Ratepayers Association chair Di Ind said the region’s tourism reputation was at risk and that a collaborative solution was needed.

She said she would like to see toilets and change rooms at this “incredible” tourist attraction.

“It’s quite shocking and something absolutely needs to be done about it,” Ms Ind said.

Cave Divers Association of Australia national director Grant Pearce said the group would like to see facilities at the site.

He said the District Council of Grant should consider providing shelter and basic toilets at the facility.

“But like most things, when you put infrastructure in place, there is a cost associated with maintaining that,” Mr Pearce said.

He said a regional sinkhole trail was being developed and toilets at those locations would be helpful.

District Council of Grant Mayor Kylie Boston is one of the volunteers.(ABC South East SA: Bec Whetham)

‘It is very special’

Grant Mayor Kylie Boston said Little Blue Lake was under the care and control of the council and that most of the car park was on unalienated Crown land.

She said the council would hold a workshop in the next two months to discuss the lack of facilities at the site and other sinkholes.

Cr Boston said any toilet development would need planning approval and would have to be installed on land controlled by the state’s Department for Environment and Water (DEW).

“It is a matter of just the dollars of the infrastructure … and there is quite a high continuing cost of maintaining these facilities,” she said.

But Cr Boston said closing Little Blue Lake was not being considered.

“It is very special and we do need to take care of it,” she said.

In a statement, a DEW spokesperson said proposals to develop facilities at the Little Blue Lake “should be directed to the council in the first instance”.

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