CUMBEROONA: The bleeding must stop, council told | POLL

THE Cumberoona paddlesteamer could be off Albury Council’s hands by October.

The council’s community and cultural committee last night voted 5-2 in favour of disposing of the paddlesteamer with an October deadline for the public offer process put in place.

Former mayors Cr Patricia Gould and Cr Alice Glachan were the only committee members to speak in favour of keeping the Cumberoona, which began as a bicentennial project and has been in the council’s control since the early 1990s.

Its disposal will be rubber-stamped at next week’s council meeting.

Mayor Kevin Mack raised the issue of a timeline being attached to its disposal.

“We don’t want to see this dragging out beyond the next six months,” he said.

“It is doomed and we need to find another home for this artefact.”

Cr David Thurley said some in the community were falsely holding onto hope the paddlesteamer could be used on Lake Hume.

“We need to make it quite clear it is not an option,” he said.

Cr Glachan said the Cumberoona was crucial to the proposed riverside project at Noreuil Park.

“One day we will have a riverside precinct and it would be an absolute shame to see it grow and develop and not have what is currently a going and viable proposition in the PS Cumberoona,” she said.

“I acknowledge the difficulties there have been, but there is opportunity should we retain the Cumberoona.”

Cr Gould, who chaired last night’s committee meeting, said the Cumberoona was an important part of the Noreuil Park area and should be retained.

“In the beginning people were scrambling to get on that boat,” she said.

Cr Daryl Betteridge said the $2 million already spent on the Cumberoona in almost two decades by ratepayers was enough.

“It is time to draw a line in the sand,” he said.

“The much vaunted and hopefully very successful riverside project will be better off for not having the Cumberoona involved.

“It is not historically significant and is not an accurate replica of the Cumberoona.”

Cr Henk van de Ven said the Cumberoona was doomed and also cast doubt on the riverside commercial area happening.

“I am not prepared to spend one more cent on maintaining the Cumberoona,” he said.

“This is an opportunity to put an end to the bleeding and get rid of a millstone around council’s neck.

“If this riverside precinct is a goer we would have had people lining up to invest well before this.”