An action plan to dredge Brooklands Lake for the first time in 20 years was supported by councillors on Tuesday, following pleas from hundreds of petitioners.
Worthing Borough Council cabinet members vowed to remove 10,000 cubic metres of silt from the lake, thought to have caused annual issues with toxic blue-green algae.
Lead petitioners have welcomed the plans, which could cost up to £850,000, as they claimed the algae was responsible for the death of wildlife.
But questions remain over how the works will be funded, with the council seeking financial support from other interested parties.
Speaking at the joint strategic committee meeting on Tuesday, cabinet member for environment Clive Roberts said: “I’m sorry for the state of the lake. In all the years I have been overseeing it I think I’ve done all I can, so thanks once again for the petition which has given it a bit of impetus.
“When I couldn’t shout loud enough it has shouted for me.”
The lake, last dredged in 1995, acts as a flood relief for surrounding areas as well as being a popular beauty spot.
Numerous options were discounted, including pumping the silt out to sea, turning the lake into a tidal lagoon and even relocating the facility.
Councillors opted against the transporting the silt off-site, with costs predicted to soar to up to £4million.
Instead, silt would be gathered into containers, placed around the lake’s edges and planted. Reed beds and installation of silt traps would minimise future built-up. Work could start in autumn 2017.
Mr Roberts said he hoped boating – banned because of the lake’s algal issues – would one day be revived.
Lead petitioner Walter Smith said he was pleased with the outcome.
Council leader Dan Humphreys said after the meeting the focus was on securing funds and would not discuss ‘what if’ scenarios.