On Saturday Dean Jefferys, skipper of the marine conservation yacht Migaloo 2, met with Department of Primary Industry (DPI) representatives to discuss the Brunswick Harbour masterplan as part of an open day DPI organised to hear the concerns and ideas by local residents.
Also visiting the harbour all the way from Peru were members of the Amaru Pumac Kuntur group who where playing at Byron Spirit Fest over the weekend.
Mr Jefferys raised his concern that an upmarket, privatised marina could spell the end of local yachties and fishers being able to afford to moor in the harbour.
‘A major concern is that if they tender out the process to build the floating pontoons to a private company who then can put whatever price they want on a mooring, then it is likely the morning fees will more than double,’ Mr Jefferys said.
‘This could make mooring a boat in Brunswick unviable to many local boat owners and may have the effect of filling up the harbour with Gold Coast “stink boats”.’
He said most local boaties agreed that if floating pontoons were absolutely necessary ‘a better option would be that the DPI do the construction work then lease the moorings and management of the surrounding area to the council’.
‘This would not entail any expense by council and would keep the harbour and its management in local and state government control rather than a company only concerned about profit.’
Mr Jefferys added that he would like to see an exemption to the current policy that prevents owners from living on boats.
‘When this policy is well thought out and various environmental and social considerations put in place this would offer an opportunity for people to live on their boats without being threatened, hence creating affordable housing for the boat owners rather than having to join the huge renters queue looking for a house while their house on the water sits there empty for 11 months of the year.
‘I have spoken with the mayor who ways he likes the idea and is currently looking into this prospect,’ Mr Jefferys said.
I would recommend putting in a quick submission recommending to DPI that Byron council be given the lease to the mooring areas not a private company.
Submissions close on May 1. You can have your say here.