WITH water again being released out of an almost-full Lake Eppalock, Goulburn-Murray Water is in the happy position of hosing down expectations for future recreational development.
“We’re seeing from the general feedback that there is a lot of pleasure out of the lake, and people are very happy there is water in it now,” GMW Land and On-Water manager David Jackson said this week.
“It’s really good that people have seen Lake Eppalock in drought, so we’re able to have those discussions about how to cope when it’s back in drought, what sort of facilities we should aim to build that could accommodate the situation of no water.”
Mr Jackson is overseeing the development of long-term plans for recreational use of the region’s water storage facilities, including Eppalock and Cairn Curran Reservoir.
In January this year, they began consultations with the community, visitors and authorities, as the first step in planning for better use of the sites.
At that time, he said a first draft will take six to 12 months, when it will be released for public scrutiny and comment.
“We (GMW) store and move water, so whatever we do with recreation must not conflict with that core business,” Mr Jackson said.
“Through the consultations and discussions we’re saying, look at the vision, and then we need to talk about funding.
“We want to show the community what we can and can’t achieve.”
The plan will address problems such as the closure of a boat repair business which used to operate at Lake Eppalock, and also the loss of a hotel at the site.
Boat ramps and other recreational and tourist facilities are also part of the “vision” document.
“The draft will be a precis of everyone’s thoughts, and it’s a big process, so we want to make sure everyone can see what they’ve said has been incorporated into it,” Mr Jackson said.
“Then, what we can say is, ok shire, you have a stake in this. You want to create tourism, so maybe you could help with maintenance, to spread the dollar load around.”
Mr Jackson said people can keep up to date with the plan via the newsletter which GMW release on their website and sends out each month.
“It’s taking a long time to write, but we’re hoping to have the draft (for Lake Eppalock) completed before Christmas,” he said.
“But I didn’t say what year!”