An icon of Lochiel’s Lake Bumbunga, the Loch-eel Monster, has resurfaced with a new look and has already become a social media star.
Loch-Eel, named by the Lochiel Progress Association (LPA), is one of the major elements of Wakefield Regional Council’s $450,000 Lake Bumbunga Tourism Infrastructure project, supported by the Federal Government’s Building Better Regions Fund and LPA.
While the fibreglass sculpture – built by Port Broughton mechanic, Wayne Dennis – took 12 months to build around a stainless steel rod with wire mesh, it only took one day to install.
“There were many hands lakeside when it was installed last week,” Wakefield mayor Rodney Reid said.
“It was quite a scene as council staff were joined by Lochiel community members, Joel Wilson Plumbing, and Cunningham’s Engineering to ensure the monster was safely installed.”
Other elements of the tourism infrastructure project include a viewing platform, being completed this week, new public toilets, new playground and picnic area, free public Wi-Fi, designated car park with improved visibility in the town and new town entrance signs.
Information signage will be the final element of the project, set for completion in June 2021.
“Lake Bumbunga has become increasingly popular for tourists over the past few years and we’ve seen a lot of interest from film makers, photographers and others wanting to use the lake for filming and fashion photo shoots,” Mr Reid said.
“The project aims to capitalise on this interest in Loch-Eel and provide some fun and interest for visitors at the same time.
“Developing Lake Bumbunga has been a long-held desire for the LPA and it’s wonderful that council can work so closely with this community to make the lake and the tiny town sing.”
The eel is mounted in the lake on footings built around old tractor and header tyres donated by Mid North Tyres, reinforced with stainless steel and filled with rubble, making them extremely heavy.
Footings were designed by Mace Engineering and built by Balaklava’s Cunningham’s Engineering.
Council has a special sub-licence on that portion of the lake with licence holders, Cheetham Salt, and no vehicles should drive on the lake at any time unless they have permission from licence holders.
“We also ask people do not try to climb the sculpture – it was designed to view from a distance and we are putting in place a platform for that to happen,” Mayor Reid said.