Riverfront businesses play wait-and-see with River Murray high flows
Murraylands marina owners and houseboat operators remain optimistic that they will be able to keep operating throughout the summer.
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How are the Murraylands’ riverfront business owners feeling about the impending River Murray floods?
It depends who you ask.
General manager Mydwan Crabtree said preparations were already underway at Murray Bridge Marina, Camping and Caravan Park.
The park’s petrol bowsers were removed last week, key tenant Oz Houseboats has already ceased operating, and Mr Crabtree has been providing daily updates to the marina’s 14 or so permanent residents – mostly retirees.
He expected the marina to be “completely inundated”, and wasn’t sure yet how its electrical and sewage systems would cope.
“Given that this place was built after 1974, (flooding) is unprecedented in the history of this establishment, so we’re not really sure how its going to affect the infrastructure down below,” he said.
However, he expected the caravan park would keep operating throughout the floods’ December peak.
“It would require a biblical flood to take us out up here,” he said.
“We have had a lot of enquiries of people wondering if it is going to be impacted … but bookings in coming months are still healthy.
“I imagine the park and the accommodation side of things will continue unhindered.”
In any case, he did not expect the floods’ impact to be as devastating as the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, when “our Easter long weekend bookings disappeared, and then the phone didn’t ring for six months”.
Others, including Wow Houseboats owner Todd Dolling, were not worried at all.
“A houseboat doesn’t make big waves like a ski boat; it travels at five to six kilometres an hour, so it won’t affect nearby properties,” he said.
“The only risk is if the water levels become too high for the two-storey houseboat to fit under the bridge.
“We will postpone and cancel bookings when the state government says houseboats cannot operate, and when our insurance will no longer cover us.”
He said people who were planning on booking a houseboat for the summer had nothing to fear.
His company had gone so far as to prepare how-to videos on operating a houseboat during high-flow periods.
If holidaymakers were still worried about the current, he could drive the boat to somewhere like Tailem Bend or Mypolonga and park it for them to use in a static position, he said.
“Debris, twigs and logs have been floating down the river since Noah’s ark … and the willow trees act like a big sieve.
“For us, it will be business as usual.”
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