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Byron Shire
May 19, 2021

Brunswick Buccaneer boat given a year to float

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Operator of the Brunswick Buccaneers boat hire business, Ilan Schnitzler, has received a 12-month reprieve from North Coast Holiday Parks after earlier attempts to evict him. Photo Eve Jeffrey
Operator of the Brunswick Buccaneers boat hire business, Ilan Schnitzler, has received a 12-month reprieve from North Coast Holiday Parks after earlier attempts to evict him. Photo Eve Jeffrey

Hans Lovejoy

The tedious and complicated bureaucracy that nearly sank Brunswick Buccaneer boat hire may soon be over. Well, for a year at least.

The Echo reported earlier this year that the manager of the NSW government-run North Coast Holiday Parks (NCHP), Jim Bolger, inexplicably tried to evict the 30-year old business and its operator Ilan Schnitzler a year ago with just four days’ notice.

It came without explanation and Mr Bolger told The Echo at the time, ‘the Trust will not take part in discussing licence or legal issues through the media’.

But in a turnaround, Mr Schnitzler told The Echo that Mr Bolger had a ‘completely changed attitude,’ at their recent meeting, and agreed to allow the boat hire business to continue for a year.

And as the licence makes no guarantees past 12 months, Mr Schnitzler’s solicitor, Claire Lovejoy, told The Echo it was possibly because of the NCHP’s controversial plan of management (POM) for the township, which is yet to be determined.

Interestingly, when on exhibition the POM did not include the Brunswick Buccaneer in the plan or maps and instead promoted a decking area at the site.

As for the way in which Mr Schnitzler had to navigate the bureaucratic smoke and mirrors, be prepared for layers of confusing regulation.

While NSW government departments all appear to share responsibility of issuing permits to access the creek, Mr Schnitzler was advised that NCHP controls the embarkation point at Banner Park. At the high-water mark. Still with us?

Smoke and mirrors

Now that a licence has been signed by NCHP, he has to go back to Crown Lands, NSW Marine Parks and Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) to get the technical tick to legally operate.

‘Previously the departments indicated that permits would be granted after NCHP gave the licence,’ said Ms Lovejoy. ‘Now it appears some of these departments are dragging their heels with emails unanswered for over a month.’

Mr Bolger, who is also NCHP’s media contact, was asked by The Echo for comment on the reversal of his previous eviction intentions but as of deadline there has been no reply.

NCHP controversially took control from Council of public parks and reserves in 2006, and The Echo previously reported that the state government took that revenue away from Council.

Additionally, the community became enraged at Mr Bolger’s plans to fence off public lands in the town.

Disclosure: Mr Schnitzler’s solicitor is a relative of the reporter.

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