Opposition grows over TVA houseboat proposal
GRAHAM -SWAIN COUNTIES, N.C. -- Opposition is growing to a Tennessee Valley Authority proposal to phase out many houseboats on reservoirs like Fontana Lake. The TVA votes on the plan this Thursday in Tennessee.
It calls for removing all floating houses and non-navigable houseboats within 20 years. The TVA says the reservoir is a public resource and the action is needed to ensure safety and water quality.
But houseboat owners and business operators say they are good stewards of the lake, and keep it clean. They say forcing owners to remove their homes at their cost, won't work.
"They're not going to spend seven to ten thousand dollars to get them off the lake. So it's going to create a bigger problem for the TVA in our mind," says Debbie Prince, who runs Prince Boat Dock along with her husband.
They say the proposal will destroy their business. "We virtually won't have a business if they do this sunset clause," says Prince.
Both Prince and Swain County Commissioner David Monteith say if the houseboats go, they lose thousands in local revenue. Monteith believes the TVA's houseboat proposal means more government control.
"I think their bottom line is for the National Park Service to take over," he says. And he believes it would be for flood control in Tennessee, not Swain, which he says does not receive any power from the TVA.
That's something that frustrates him, since the federal government still owes Swain tens of millions of dollars for destroying a road in the '40s to build Fontana Dam and Lake.
"They have never stopped taking from Swain County. Add they still want to take more. And it's got to be stopped," he says.
Prince wants this latest proposal stopped. "We want them to do away with the sunset clause," she says.
Commissioners in Graham, Swain, and Haywood counties have all passed resolutions opposing the TVA's proposed regulations.