Plugging lake’s leak worth look

HOW to stop Lake Sambell from leaking is the $244,000 question.

Victorian Minister for Environment and Climate Change Ryan Smith yesterday announced $200,000 funding that, added to $44,000 from the Department of Sustainability and Environment, would fund a study to work out what has caused a leak in the lake’s wall and how to repair it.

Mr Ryan said the cost was “absolutely worth it” and hydrology and geotechnical experts were needed to do “in-depth” research.

“(Lake Sambell) is a great drawcard for Beechworth and we’re prepared to, and very willing to, work with the shire to get the work done and to alleviate the problems as quickly as possible. Because if the tourists aren’t here, not so many pies are sold at the Beechworth Bakery,” he said.

Member for Benambra Bill Tilley said it was a frustrating but necessary process.

“We just have to dot our I’s and cross our T’s and do it properly. There is a process and it’s frustrating that it does take time,” Mr Tilley said.

The leak in the wall was discovered in January and the water level of Lake Sambell was lowered by almost two metres to take the pressure off the wall. Water has been seeping into the Chinese Gardens since.

Indigo Shire mayor Barb Murdoch said the water would remain low into next year and that the study would take “some months”.

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