Green Hill Lake odds and evens rule to go

ARARAT - The highly criticised odds and evens rule at Green Hill Lake looks likely to be scrapped at the end of this summer with the Ararat Rural City Council in the final stages of a proposed rule change application.

Under the current rules which remain in place at Green Hill Lake during daylight savings time, the exclusive area is set aside solely for power boating, water skiing and personal water craft on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, while non-power boating (fishing) in the exclusive area can take place only on Saturday, Tuesday and Thursday.

Ararat Rural City manager operation services, Norm Woodhams said a push to change the rules of the lake has been an ongoing process for a number of years.

"We had requests from the Green Hill Lake Development Board for the rules to be changed for a number of years, with the first being October 2010," he said.

"It goes without saying that on cold days you are not going to get a lot of people wanting to put their boats on the lake and go skiing, but some fishermen want to fish.

"Under the current rules however, they are banned from doing so if it falls on a skiing day.

"Then of course it is the opposite on a hot, calm day when skiers can't get out on the lake.

"Even before daylight on skiing days, fishermen were still unable to go out on the lake, which is ridiculous because you are not going to ski when it's dark - These new rules will allow these things to occur."

The proposed rules relate to a popular designated area of Green Hill Lake located to the south-west and will replace the current rules, which have been in place since 2002.

The application proposes a limit on the number of vessels involved in towing sports using the area, restrictions on permitted laps and time limits, creates rules for direction of travel, rules for the use of the access lane and proposes a five knot speed limit when water levels are 1.2 metres or lower.

Mr Woodhams said council officers had met with a number of user groups of Green Hill Lake to discuss the finer details of the changes.

"There has been a lot of consultation about what the rules should and shouldn't say," he said.

"After those discussions we submitted a draft application and Transport Safety Victoria came back with some minor alterations, which under the Marine Act requires a minimum four week community consultation period and that is currently underway."

Full details of the proposal are available at the Ararat Rural City Council Offices and on the website (www.ararat.vic.gov.au), while written submissions are invited from interested parties before December 31.

Transport Safety Victoria will review all submissions that Council receives and make any necessary modifications.

"After the December 31 closing date we will re-submit the application to TSV and depending on what submissions are received they will approve the rules in principle or reject the request and it will be the status quo," Mr Woodhams said.

If the new rules get the green light Mr Woodhams said new signage will have to be ordered and it is only when those signs are installed that the rules are put into action.

"If approved, it is still likely to be well into next year that they will come into place," he said.

"To avoid any confusion the rules won't be introduced until after the current ski season, so around March or April.

"Council is the waterway manager of Green Hill Lake, so we must ensure a safe environment and we believe the new rules meet that aim while also eliminating the confusion that has been caused by the odds and evens rule in the past."

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