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Byron Shire
May 15, 2021

Houseboat operator fears wakeboards

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The operator of a houseboat business on the Tweed River has appealed to councillors not to overturn a ban on wakeboarding which he says is a danger to other river users.

Joseph Hoctor, of Tumbulgum, told councillors that high-speed wakeboarders currently illegally using the river played havoc with other users.

‘People cannot enjoy fishing without being tossed out of their boats’ , Mr Hoctor told last Thursday’s community access meeting.

He said waterskiers were not a problem for his houseboat users but that wakeboarding was not only dangerous to other users but created erosion problems on the river edge.

He said wakeboarders were mostly from Queensland where the sport was ‘effectively banned’ in waterways such as Currumbin Creek because of their danger.

‘I’d hate to see this go ahead as we’ll get more and more wakeboards on the river,’ he said.

Tweed Shire Council on Tuesday will debate a rescission motion aimed at overturning a decision to knock back the operator of a wakeboard coaching school who wants to run clinics on a section of the river between Chinderah and Fingal Head

Queensland company Pro-Wake Academy had applied to operate the school after running clinics there for almost five years without official consent.

The bid was defeated in a narrow vote, with mayor Barry Longland using his casting vote to reject it after votes were tied at 3–3.

According to a recent council report debated the same day, wakeboarding was seen as a major cause of riverbank erosion and staff therefore recommended against it.

But pro-development councillors backing the company’s bid for authorisation are set to overturn the ban, as Cr Kevin Skinner, a supporter of the bid, was absent last vote and is expected to join his colleagues supporting the bid, Crs Joan van Lieshout, Warren Polglase and Phil Youngblutt, who say it will boost local tourism.

Fingal Head Community Association opposes the sport saying it will endanger the fragile nesting habitat of internationally protected migratory birds using the area.

They say it would also increase safety risks for other river users with more followers of the sport set to access the river if the bid succeeds.

 

 


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