There is no doubt that Lake Albert is one of the best recreational features the Riverina has to offer.
It’s spruiked by real estate agents and developers as one of the region’s most desirable locations, but is lakeside living all it’s cracked up to be?
On the plus side, the lake’s 6.1-kilometre circumference provides joggers, cyclists and pet owners with the perfect hour-and-a-half-long experience outside of the house, with a peaceful water-side breeze hundreds of kilometres away from the nearest ocean beach.
Waterfront parks are ideal for an outdoor gathering, you’re within a five-minute walk of the famous Lake Albert golf course and now that the weather is getting warmer and the water starts to clear, it is an enjoyable setting for a late-afternoon boat ride.
Unfortunately for residents of the great suburb, the glitz and glamour of the always-popular lake don’t always live up to the brochure hype.
To put into perspective how frustrating living in Lake Albert can be, one needs only to bring up three primary roads used by thousands of vehicles to make their way in and out of the suburb every day: Lake Albert Road, Vincent Road and Gregadoo Road.
I can count on one hand the number of days, since returning to Wagga in March, that I have not needed to slow down for roadworks, dodge potholes or pray that I haven’t accidentally set off a speed camera due to the distractingly abysmal condition of the three arterial roads.
In all honesty, there have been days when I’ve thought, ‘Hmmm, maybe I can work from home today?’ purely because of how much I despise these roads.
Lake Albert Road has been under construction for months. It falls apart, melts or withers away only days after the works are completed, leading to a new round of construction, even bigger and for longer than the last time.
Vincent Road may be the worst street in the city. Every time drivers make their way down this infamous street, they have to make the hard choice on whether to dodge a potential car-wrecking pothole and drive into oncoming traffic or brave said pothole and hope the car survives.
Moving away from roads, Lake Albert residents also have the pleasure of waking on the weekends to the fantastic (and absolutely not at all mind-numbing) sounds of the gun club on one side and the boats on the other.
It fills me with joy waking up at the totally respectable time of 7 am each Saturday to the sounds of shots being fired on one of my days off. It’s not like it goes all day, though …
And now as we head into summer (and before the lake is closed again by blue-green algae), guns won’t be the only noise-emitting contraptions waking the oh-so-tired Lake Albert residents.
Who doesn’t love a bit of fun on the back of a boat or on a wakeboard with the water splashing and wind blowing? But do we have to enjoy it so early in the morning? C’mon!
The balance between lake-siders being able to live quietly and people being able to use the lake has been a juggling act for years.
Residents have already expressed their concerns as boats begin to hit the water this summer season and a war of words erupted on social media over the weekend.
“How much longer do we have to put up with those bloody boats on the lake,” asked a grumpy member of a community Facebook page, causing an avalanche of angry comments.
Triggered boat lovers suggested that Lakers who are sick of the noise should “move away”, while one Wagga CBD resident stood up for the motorboats and attacked the elites, asking: ”Where are they supposed to go, the people in the CBD that live next to the river complained now u complaining that they go to the lake, seems like rich people complain a lot aye, not everyone has money to go to the coast like you.”
Now in fairness, Lake Albert is actually a great place to live. There are two of the city’s most sought-after schools, arguably the greatest fish and chips in town at Crackerjack’s, one of the best pubs in town and of course the lake itself. But it’s the little things that can sometimes be really irritating.
So please, spare a thought for this sleepless journo and the thousands of other Lake Albert residents who suffer through the guns, boats and blue-green algae.