Will she ever float again?

THE Albury Council has allayed concerns about the Cumberoona paddlesteamer snapping free and floating away from its moorings as the river level continues to rise.

An intensive sandbagging exercise is being carried out on the banks of the Wodonga Creek where the paddlesteamer is moored, awaiting for replacement work on its hull.

Pictures emerged yesterday of water flowing under the Cumberoona after outflows from Lake Hume increased.

But the council’s community and cultural director James Jenkins said the Cumberoona was secure and in no danger of breaking free.

Mr Jenkins said Wodonga Creek could rise another metre and the paddlesteamer would be still be secure.

He said sandbags were being filled to create a “mini” catchment dam so the work of re-sheeting the hull could start.

Under strict permit conditions issued by North East Catchment Management Authority, no pollutants from the hull replacement work can seep into Wodonga Creek.

“We don’t expect the boat to be at risk of floating away,” Mr Jenkins said. “It is very stable.

“We’ve just got to make sure there are no pollutants going into the river when the project starts.

“They need to take paint off and put new sheeting on.

“They then also have to put protective coats of paint back on.”

Mr Jenkins said the level of the river was lower than a year ago when the Cumberoona was moored in the same spot.

The sandbags will be re-used on the Mungabareena boat ramp project which is planned for this financial year.

“We are confident of its stability,” he said.

“If the river got up another metre we would have to look at it again.

“If the river gets up another metre it would be more than the boat we would be worried about.

“It would be a flood level higher than we’ve had for many, many years.”

The Cumberoona hasn’t sailed since 2006 due to a low river.

It had to have repair works to satisfy NSW Maritime Standards.

“Managing a boat of this nature is quite complex and requires a lot of bases being covered,” Mr Jenkins said.

“The hull replacement is a critical step in returning the boat to service.

The council signed a $186,000 contract with DTD Engineering late last year to replace a large section of the paddlesteamer’s hull.