News today that Hazelwood Pondage’s closure will continue until at least the early part of 2019 is devastating news for tourists and locals alike. This popular and unique body of water is an extremely popular destination during the Christmas and School holiday period, but water enthusiasts and campers will now be forced to find other alternatives.
“Whilst one has to accept that the safety of users of the pondage should not be compromised, I am extremely disappointed and angry that it appears no or little effort has been made to support user groups such as the Latrobe Valley Yacht Club (LVYC) during this period of time,” said Mr Northe
The Club’s sailing season has been upended and important programs like Sailability have not continued since the Pondage was closed in June. “This is despite me raising the future of Hazelwood Pondage as an issue in Parliament earlier this year, and writing to various authorities and Ministers in July to seek their support to ensure the Sailability program continued,” Mr Northe added.
“I just can’t fathom that it appears no-one in authority has bothered to provide any adequate support and assistance to the LVYC so it could continue to deliver the Sailability program at an alternative location, particularly when it was well understood that the ban on utilising Hazelwood Pondage would most likely continue,” Mr Northe said.
“For a period of months now, Sailability has not been able to operate locally and I find the lack of support for the program disgraceful,” Mr Northe said, “Quite simply and literally the participants and co-ordinators of the program have been left high and dry and this is unacceptable, given these issues were raised months and months ago”
In addition campers, visitors and recreational users of the Pondage will likewise be feeling extremely disappointed that this distinctive body of water is now out of action over the coming months. The economic impact within our local community will also be tested including the townships of Morwell, Churchill and Yinnar.
“Here we are not long after the closure of Hazelwood Power Station and the subsequent economic and employment upheaval of our community, that one of our favourite and iconic destinations is facing the same demise, said Mr Northe.
Ideally our community has voiced its strong desire in seeking the retention of Hazelwood Pondage. It’s incumbent upon the relevant authorities and the State Government to explore every single opportunity to its maximum level to see if the Pondage can be retained as an amazing local and tourist attraction.