Lakes Entrance will be home to an exciting new on water tourist attraction later this year, but it comes at the expense of long-time tourist attraction the Lakes Entrance Paddleboats.
East Gippsland Shire has announced the Lakes Entrance Aqua Park, an inflatable aqua park which it says will provide on water fun for local families and visitors alike.
“The park will be based at 429 Main Beach Walk on the southern side of Cunninghame Arm across the footbridge and provide a new tourist attraction that will take Lakes Entrance into the future,” the shire said in a statement.
Approximately 1400 square metres of inflatable obstacles of varying heights will be placed on the water and anchored to the bottom of the lake, with onshore office cabins and storage.
Lakes Entrance Paddleboats owner, Noel Manning, had operated on the site for more than three decades.
Council acknowledged the contribution the paddleboats had made to the holiday experience over that period and the memories many people will have.
They also stated that in December 2019 the paddleboats operator was advised that the licence agreement for 429 Main Beach Walk, Lakes Entrance, was expiring on the June 30, 2020 and that the business was required to vacate the licence area by this date because council would be issuing a public expression of interest for the site. The EOI was issued on August 26, 2020, and closed on September 23, 2020.
Lakes Entrance Paddleboats was granted multiple extensions to operate over the last seven months and the site was vacated in early February.
The Lakes Post approached Mr Manning for a statement, however he declined other than to say he was very disappointed with the shire’ s decision.
Mr Manning made a statement on social media.
“It is with deep regret that I inform you that I have been evicted by the East Gippsland Shire Council,” he posted.
“Australia Day was my last trading day at Lakes Entrance Paddleboats. Having served the local tourism industry in Lakes Entrance for the past 38 years, I am extremely disappointed in the council’s decision to force the closure of the local tourist attraction.”
Council undertook a public expression of interest commencing in August last year, as required under council’s Leasing and Licensing Policy for council owned land and council managed land and the Victorian Crown Land Leasing Policy.
The process attracted interest from multiple parties and in December, council finalised this process and awarded the licence to Canberra Aqua Park, which will operate the Lakes Entrance Aqua Park, on a three-year licence agreement. There will be two further three-year option terms.
It is expected the Lakes Entrance Aqua Park will be open later this year.
Lakes Entrance will boast an aqua park next Summer, which will resemble the Canberra Aqua Park on lakes Burley Griffin.