QUEENSLAND resident Sara Watson is overjoyed that the iconic Lake Daylesford Boathouse Cafe will be rebuilt.
Ms Watson was responsible for the bulk of the design and building of the popular Daylesford tourist attraction and was devastated late last year to learn it had been destroyed by fire.
Hepburn Shire Council recently approved draft plans for the rebuilding of the cafe and mayor Bill McClenaghan has confirmed the finished product would look very similar to the original building.
“I’m very happy that it’s being rebuilt,” Ms Watson said.
“It’s been an iconic fixture on Lake Daylesford since we built it and I think it brings a lot of tourists to the areas so it really does need to be rebuilt.
“There was a always a boat shed there, right from year dot when the lake was first established.”
Ms Watson, a former Hepburn Shire resident, opened the boathouse cafe in 1993.
“Back in 1991, I got the licence to run the boats on Lake Daylesford,” she said.
“There was only a really old boat shed, the whole jetty moved when people were on it, so I went to council to discuss building something new.
“I offered to pay half the building cost if I got a long lease and fit it out at my expense... I sold my home and poured all my money into that project.
“I had no idea that it would become so popular and stir up so many emotions in town from other proprietors.”
Ms Watson has her fingers-crossed the new boathouse will retain some of the original features.
“There was a lovely stain glass window that a local artist had made,” she said.
“That was at the front as you looked at the building from the car park, it was right in the peak, in the apex of the roof, so it shone beautiful light through the kitchen into the dining room.
“But I don’t think they’d be able to replace it at a reasonable cost.
“But it is wonderful it’s being rebuilt.”
Meanwhile, Bookbarn owner Andrew Green said he would welcome the return of another trader at Lake Daylesford.
“Our trade has improved no end since it closed down,” he said.
“But I’ve got a good brand and I’m not really worried. It will attract tourists and make the pie a bit bigger for all of us.”