Lake tourism boom with good wa­ter lev­els a draw­card

Euroa Gazette - - NEWS - By WILL MUR­RAY

HIGH wa­ter lev­els and warm weather just in time for the Christ­mas- New Year break has peo­ple flock­ing to the shire’s wa­ter­ways and neigh­bour­ing lakes and rivers.

Tourist ac­com­mo­da­tion in pop­u­lar spots like the Nagam­bie Lakes and Bon­nie Doon are re­port­ing huge num­bers of peo­ple com­ing from across the state to take ad­van­tage of the great weather for swim­ming, boat­ing, fish­ing and camp­ing.

As peo­ple re­turn to work af­ter many en­joyed a two- week break, num­bers have died down, how­ever with the Aus­tralia Day week­end not far away, car­a­van park and leisure cen­tre own­ers are pre­par­ing for an­other boom.

Kathy Octi­gan, owner of the Bon­nie Doon Car­a­van Park said that with the wa­ter lev­els up to 77 per cent ca­pac­ity (only 6m un­der the Bon­nie Doon Bridge) and the tem­per­a­tures heat­ing up, she is ex­pect­ing the lake to be ex­tremely pop­u­lar come Jan­uary 26.

“With Aus­tralia Day fall­ing on a Thurs­day this year, we ex­pect many peo­ple to take an RDO on the Fri­day and make it a bumper week­end,” Ms Octi­gan said.

“So we ex­pect it will be a re­ally fran­tic week­end with so many peo­ple out on the wa­ter over the four days.”

While the num­ber of vis­i­tors to the area is great for lo­cal busi­nesses and the wider econ­omy, it does bring with it the added risk of in­jury and even deaths on our wa­ter­ways as crowds of peo­ple en­joy the wa­ter at the same time.

On Sun­day a man aged in his 30s came off a wake­board and hit the wa­ter heav­ily at Eil­don at about 1.40pm.

He sus­tained head in­juries and was treated by paramedics be­fore being flown by air am­bu­lance he­li­copter to The Al­fred hos­pi­tal in a crit­i­cal con­di­tion.

Shire of Strath­bo­gie mayor Amanda McClaren urged peo­ple to be safe and re­spon­si­ble on the wa­ter this sum­mer.

Dur­ing the sum­mer, po­lice will be en­forc­ing the com­pul­sory wear­ing of por­ta­ble flota­tion de­vices when on the wa­ter.

Cr McClaren said she was happy to say the ‘zero tol­er­ance pol­icy’ was hav­ing a pos­i­tive ef­fect on peo­ple’s be­hav­iour.

“There has been a re­ally good re­sponse from wa­ter users,” she said.

“We want peo­ple to be able to get out and en­joy the lakes, but we want them to do so as safely as pos­si­ble.”

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