A PUSH for houseboats on Lake Hume is making headway with its proponent wanting to see 100 live-in vessels on the water in 2017-18.
First-term Albury councillor Murray King vowed to get houseboats on the lake as part of his election campaign and is now forming a steering committee to pursue the idea.
It comes as the Lake Hume Community Reference Group prepares to discuss the proposal at its next quarterly meeting on December 9.
The group includes figures from Albury, Wodonga, Towong, Indigo and Greater Hume councils and community representatives.
Cr King said he had received no negative feedback to his plan and wanted to see houseboats allowed on the lake soon.
“We’re setting ourselves an achievable target, a reasonably quick timeline to get this going – we want it done and dusted by this time next year,” he said.
“I can’t see any environmental impacts that are not the same as going out in the boat during the day. It’s not digging holes, pulling down trees, it’s sitting on the resource we already have.”
Cr King said he had been told effluent from houseboats could be managed by vacuum devices and supported by a rubbish collection and freshwater top-ups.
He compared Lake Hume to Lake Eildon which has 720 licensed houseboats.
“We would think some portion of those people will say ‘I’ve had enough of Eildon’ and then go to Lake Hume,” Cr King said.
“I would think 100 would be a good result in the first year, a fantastic result.”
Cr King accepts the big difference between Eildon and Hume is the bureaucratic control with the Murray River-supplied lake being regulated by NSW, Victorian and federal authorities.
Wodonga council election candidate and businesswoman Alison Reed is backing Cr King, saying the lake is “very much underutilised”.
“We’re not looking to have the lake used and abused,” Mrs Reed said. “It’s a beautiful natural asset, we need to protect it, but also unlock it and let people use it.”
Lake Hume’s management plan states houseboats are banned because of a limited area for them during low water levels, potential dangers caused by their waves and grey water concerns.
Lake regulator Goulburn Murray Water would take the idea to NSW Roads and Maritime and Maritime Safety Victoria if it was backed by the community group.
Jurisdiction for houseboats would be a hurdle with different state rules applying to the north and south of Bethanga Bridge.