Water wheel's cheaper solution ignored

ALBURY’S water wheel could have been repaired more than a year ago at a fraction of the cost touted by the council, say two local welding gurus.

Frank Lange and Peter Carver approached Albury Council in March last year with a plan to restore the water wheel at Australia Park — well before debate on the wheel re-ignited recently.

The men — who have more than 70 years’ experience in welding and metal fabrication between them — had a proposal that would cost up to $25,000 to implement, as opposed to the $90,000 put forward by the council.

The council last week rubber-stamped a committee recommendation to remove the wheel, electing not to consider the pair’s offer.

The water wheel was donated to the Albury and District Historical Society by the late David Beer in 1968, from his Tallandoon farm, and the council has been met with strong community opposition to its removal.

The duo agreed it was a disappointing outcome.

“What gets me is the history ... the skill of tradesmen past is on show here,” Mr Lange said.

“When it was working it was quite an attraction,” added Mr Carver.

“For the council to say it’s an eyesore is just not true ... and once it’s gone, it’s gone,” he said.

Mr Lange and Mr Carver — welding and plumbing teachers respectively at Albury TAFE — put forward that TAFE students, or other young people looking for work and ways to improve their skills, could repair the wheel as a training project.

Both said the wheel was not as beyond repair as the council had said, and that there were solutions to any health and safety concerns.

“Some of the internal bits and pieces need replacing but there is nothing beyond repair,” Mr Carver said.

“The outer rings are in quite good condition.

“We’d come out and do the job ourselves if we were allowed.”

Added Mr Lange: “I can’t see why a good fence around it and some mesh below the water line wouldn’t help make it safe.”

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