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Haywood commissioners support keeping houseboats

Haywood County commissioners passed a resolution this week adding their two-cents to the debate over whether floating houseboats on Fontana Lake should stay or go.

Fontana Lake straddles Swain and Graham counties, but Haywood was asked to take a symbolic stand due to the large number of residents from Haywood who have houseboats, County Manager Ira Dove said. The houseboat community has been rallying opposition to a Tennessee Valley Authority proposal that would phase out the grandfathered houseboats overtime.

“To me it is kind of a working man’s recreational opportunity, where he can have a home on the lake, and that’s what people have been doing for decades, and all of a sudden TVA has decided they want to do away with them,” Commissioner Kevin Ensley said.
Commissioner Mark Swanger said the environmental issues TVA has raised as its rationale for doing away with houseboats doesn’t hold water.

The houseboat community on Fontana Lake has already alleviated concerns over waste going into the lake — waste tanks on each boat are pumped out by pump boats that shuttle the waste to shore and offload it to a pump truck, where it is then hauled to a sewer treatment plant.

“If there were in fact environmental concerns I could understand. There may be lakes elsewhere that the TVA is trying to address issues, but they should address those individually,” Swanger said.

Dove said TVA might not like the permitting and registration admin that goes into managing the 400 grandfathered houseboats on the lake and checking for compliance with the sewage disposal protocols, but that’s not grounds to do away with them.
“There could be less restrictive alternatives and that’s really what this is about,” Dove said.

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