18.3 C
Byron Shire
October 19, 2021

Boats threaten health of Tweed River: Milne

Latest News

Big Rob: ‘no comment’

The 2021 NSW Local Government elections will be held on Saturday, 04 December, 2021. Candidates have until noon on...

Other News

Gold Coast woman charged over fake COVID medical exemptions

A Gold Coast woman has been charged by Queensland Police for allegedly pretending to be a doctor and issuing...

Cr Darlene Cook: ‘working to restore accountability and trust in our Council’

Current Lismore Councillor Darlene Cook has served one term on Lismore Council and at the December LAG election, she plans to run for Mayor.

Phone scam – Just.Hang.Up.

Crime Stoppers says that almost 90 per cent of Australians have received at least one nuisance or unwanted call every week

COVID-19 update in Northern NSW

From 8 pm yesterday, 12 new cases of COVID-19 have been detected in Northern NSW. Nine cases have been identified...

Police call for busking ban, backed by Byron mayor

Have you noticed that the streets of Byron Bay have been a less tuneful and colourful place in the past week or so?

Editorial: Clear as a muddled government

Good news! Local police will not be actively enforcing the government’s Public Health (COVID-19 General) Order 2021 when it comes to business activity – see NSW govt’s Health Order lacks clarity.

Darren Coyne

How many Gold Coast boaties can the Tweed River bear?

Greens councillor Katie Milne is asking that question as the Tweed Shire Council considers yet another application this week for a boat storage facility.

With sections of the Gold Coast banning certain craft from its waterways, an increasing number of enthusiasts have been heading to the Tweed River to get their fix.

The problem is, while those visitors might be good for business, the river is not coping very well and the council is under increasing pressure to act on the issue.

At its most recent meeting, the council considered a report outlining costs involved in stablising some local roads impacted by river erosion.

In that report, staff estimated that there were 5,754 metres of roadway within the priority reach (between Murwillumbah and Stotts Island, adjacent to the Tweed Valley Way and Tumbulgum Road) that needed attention.

The report said the total cost to stablise severe erosion over ten years could be as high as $9 million, with maintenance costs adding to the figure.

Cr Milne reckons the costs are outweighing the benefits.

She points to a 2008 report, Tweed River’s Environmental Carrying Capacity, which describes the number of boats that can be accommodated at each section of the river.

Six years ago that report said the stretch from Tumbulgum to Condong exceeded its limits during peak times, while the reaches from Stotts Island to Bray Park Weir were at or near capacity.

‘The community and visitors said it was enough more than 10 years ago,’ Cr Milne said.

‘The Chinderah Marina was overturned in the Land and Environment Court due to the potential impacts on the largest seagrass bed in the river, social and economic considerations, and visual impact.

‘The court deemed that the impacts on the seagrass, which is a nursery for young marine life, had potential to affect the overall ecology of the river.

Cr Milne said council reports had since highlighted significant erosion along many lengths of the Tweed River.

She said that erosion placed marine habitats and roads and infrastructure at risk, ‘with wakeboarding identified as a significant factor’.

‘Last year council’s management team recommended dedicating the entire proposed ratepayer environment levy for the next 10 years to the Tweed River’s erosion and council has refused all commercial wakeboarding ventures,’ she said.

Tweed Shire councillors recently resolved to review of the Tweed River’s Environmental Carrying Capacity, and to develop a Tweed River Recreational Strategy to determine the community’s preferred use of the river, but Cr Milne argues those studies will be too late for the current proposals before the council.

‘Basically, more motorised activity, but particularly the new wakeboarding craze, means less fish, more conflict between other users on the river, and a significant financial cost to the ratepayers.’

The council’s planning meeting will be held Thursday evening from 5pm.

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. Like some things Clr Milne says, they are baseless and occasionally false. There has being no specific watercraft banned from gold coast waterways but the Gold Coast Waterways Authority (GCWA) is calling for community feedback on its speed limits. To insinuate that vessel movement on the river is the cause of the erosion is also incorrect, the same council documents show erosion on river banks were caused by a combination of tide, wind, flood, farming, animal movements around the banks. NSW maritimes Tweed Estuary boating plan says “The consultation process has shown that such an extensive restriction of an activity such as wakeboarding
    should not be implemented at this time” when it referenced stakeholder concern about suggestions vessels that are towing cause erosion damage. The fingal stretch from the bridge to the river mouth was rock walled many years ago and has proved to be the best option. A boat storage facility is just that, storage. It doesn’t prove increased vessel movements on the river. it will give people options to store their boats and hopefully get some of them into a safer area instead of being parked whilst not being used on the roads around the shire,

  2. There has always been boats on the river but never as many as there is now particularly at Tumbulgum . Also it’s the type of boat , speed boats towing things being the main culprit . If they have not been banned from Queensland waterways , if it’s all good up there what are they doing down here ? We all understand businesses in Tumbulgum do well out of them . But there are a lot of tourists that frequent Tumbulgum on weekends and through the week that are not boatie’s . To imply the Tourist trade in Tumbulgum is dependant upon boatie’s is untrue although there absence would have some impact . It’s really a question about whether the benefit outweighs the cost . Looking at Councils own figures it’s pretty obvious it doesn’t . Keeping in mind that cost is born by every ratepayer not just the few that have businesses in Tumbulgum.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Entertainment in the Byron Shire for the week beginning 19 October, 2021

Check out what's on at the cinema this week in Ballina and Byron

Iona Herbs

Pam Morrow from Iona Herbs is a one-woman-show. She has spent her whole life growing herbs and produce on the Tyagarah property where she...

The Great Reopening

S Haslam What a time to go out in Byron – easy to park and, for the shy retiring types like myself, a less frantic...

Bring your people together!

It’s time to bring people together! Wherever you might like to party, Event Byron Bay has you covered. From dining table set-ups to the...