Venture worthy of consideration

Think of inland waterways and houseboats often spring to mind.

It’s certainly a relaxing thought. Your own, private oasis that you can take for a cruise or simply moor in one of the many available beautiful spots dotted along the river.

Many people find nothing more attractive than such a holiday, where you wake in the morning, have lunch on board, then throw a fishing line out the back, or step off in the afternoon for a swim.

Houseboats are of course in areas such as Echuca and further downstream at Mildura as well as on Lake Eildon, which is similar to Lake Hume in that it can experience wide-ranging fluctuations in water levels.

Now there is a proposal for such a houseboat venture on Lake Hume. And it’s not just a few houseboats that Albury councillor Murray King has in mind as he would like up to 100 live-in houseboats on the water and as soon as 2017-18.

Cr King is not perturbed by possible environmental or water level issues, believing that where these arise they can be easily addressed.

“It’s not digging holes, pulling down trees,” he says, “it’s sitting on the resource we already have.”

When you look at the proposal from that viewpoint, yes, the feasibility of what he has in mind can be appreciated.

A whole range of issues stemming from putting houseboats on the lake – which was part of Cr King’s election campaign – will no doubt be examined in detail when the proposal goes before the Lake Hume Community Reference Group next week.

As The Border Mail has reported, the lake’s management plan outlines quite specific reasons for the banning of houseboats.

These include there being a limited area for the boats when the lake is low, something that happens regularly over the years, and because of the potential damage caused by waves, as well as grey water concerns.

There are also the bureaucratic hurdles to clear given the lake is managed by  NSW, Victorian and federal authorities.

The most recent similar case was four years ago at Lake Mulwala when the then Corowa council was involved in a large amount of debate on the merits of a proposal to operate one houseboat, on an area between Drain Lane and Boiling Down Creek.

Cr King’s proposal certainly will be a difficult one to achieve, but it has enough merit to be worthy of a much closer look.