ERROL PARKER | Editor-at-large | Contact

In the hills surrounding Lake Betoota, it’s not uncommon to see boats lining the streets beyond the parking signs and meters.

Land-poor boat owners say that’s as good as it gets, as proper boat storage or moorings just aren’t affordable anymore in the Simpson Desert due to the influx of COVID-related interest in marine leasure.

It’s been this way for decades.

The well heeled residents of Lake Betoota has made a fuss before but it’s largely fallen on deaf ears at the Shire Council. Things have changed, however, for one local homeowner who said everything changed when someone decided to leave a boat outside her $5m lakeside home.

Wanda Beets never thought she was capable of violence, property damaged or stalking but once a 5m centre console tinny was parked on her nature strip, her life went on hold.

Speaking to The Advocate from the park down from her house, the 75-year-old said she had to make a stand.

“The boat consumed my life,” she said.

“I don’t know what it was about it, I just knew some new money tradesman from Betoota Heights or some bogan from The Ponds owned it. That alone boiled my piss. But to have such an ugly machine outside my house all day and all night, it filled me with a rage I never knew lived in me,”

“One night, I had enough. Egged on by my meek husband, I slashed the tyres with my Wusthof. From then on, I was hooked.”

After hearing nothing for a few weeks, Wanda said she was awoken one afternoon by a knock on the door.

“It was the boatowner,” she said.

“He knew as soon as he saw me that I’d done the damage to his boat. He knew that I was the one who slashed his tyres. I’d unscrewed the oil cap and thrown a handful of sand in there. That I’d removed the number plates and called the police to report an abandoned vehicle. I could see how annoyed he was and that’s what gave me the biggest rush,”

“I know he was legally allowed to leave his boat there. He had the boat taken away and that was that. I won. That’s what it’s all about.”

More to come.


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