Cumberoona safe for three months

Cumberoona fan Jeff Sawyer with Carmel Milton, Jenny Tanner and Margaret Gleeson last night. Pictures: PETER MERKESTEYN
Cumberoona fan Jeff Sawyer with Carmel Milton, Jenny Tanner and Margaret Gleeson last night. Pictures: PETER MERKESTEYN

THE Cumberoona has been granted a stay of execution for another three months.

Last night councillors agreed to the delay in a 6-3 vote to enable another report to be tabled in July spelling out future options after a failed expression of interest process.

Cr Darren Cameron took a swipe at colleagues for failing to make tough decisions after his plan to dispose of the boat bombed.

Jeff Sawyer and the Friends of Cumberoona group, which submitted a non-compliant bid to operate the boat, were present last night to watch the discussion.

Cr Cameron gained the support of mayor Kevin Mack and deputy mayor Henk van de Ven for the immediate disposal of the paddlesteamer.

But former mayors Alice Glachan and Patricia Gould, with Graham Docksey, Daryl Betteridge, Ross Jackson and David Thurley, were in the majority.

Cr Cameron tried to have the boat taken off the council’s hands via its asset disposal policy, which will assist in finding a new home for another tourist icon — the former Australia Park waterwheel.

He said the policy included the option for the council to donate an unwanted item to a community group.

“Have the courage to make a decision tonight and not put this off for another three months,” he told his colleagues.

“I would say we are in a worse position because we’ve been subjected to a laughable proposal and given people false hope.

“I don’t see the point of waiting another three months.”

Cr van de Ven said he had previously suggested the boat become a static display at Wonga Wetlands or Oddies Creek playground.

“This has cost the community enough money,” he said.

Cr Glachan called for the further report.

“The Cumberoona has been in Albury for many years and we don’t need to have it guillotined tonight,” she said.

Cr Jackson supported Cr Glachan and remained loyal to the Albury Citizens and Ratepayers Movement, which backs the Cumberoona’s retention.

Cr Jackson was a candidate on the group’s ticket at the 2012 election.

“I don’t see the disposal of an asset as the first response to a failed expression of interest process,” he said.

“It is more a knee-jerk reaction than a sound business strategy.

“It seems fair we hang on to it until we know the next steps for a riverside precinct.”

The council has tentative plans to develop a riverside precinct opposite the Albury Swim Centre and has proposed the Cumberoona be one of its major attractions.