Casuarina has ?right to patrols'

'RESIDENTS of Casuarina estate have a right to expect lifeguards to patrol their stretch of beach during summer, says developer Don O'Rorke.

Mr O'Rorke says the residents pay substantial rates and deserve the same consideration as other beachside communities when it comes to surf patrols.

"I would expect them to agitate strongly for the service," said Mr O'Rorke, who is no longer prepared to fund patrols of the dangerous stretch of beach from company coffers.

But council staff have warned that the demand for lifeguard patrols for the new communities springing up along the Tweed Coast is likely to stretch resources.

Environment Services director Don Buckley had recommended against funding a service at Casuarina, saying it wasn't justified when other growing areas such as Black Rocks, South Pottsville, Wooyung and South Kingscliff had none. But acting mayor Lynne Beck used her casting vote at this week's council meeting to over- turn Mr Buckley's advice and explore a possible cost-sharing arrangement with Surf Life Saving NSW.

Mr O'Rorke said he welcomed the decision and would be prepared to chip in to help pay for summer patrols.

He denied his company, which has provided patrols during the past two summers, was being tight-fisted in deciding to scrap funding, saying its role was diminishing as blocks on the estate were being sold-off to residents and other developers.

He also denied Casuarina was any more dangerous than any other open stretch of beach along the Tweed Coast, and was rated as less dangerous than popular Surfers Paradise.

Councillors were split along factional lines about the Casuarina patrols, with Greens councillor Henry James saying far fewer swimmers used Casuarina compared to other beaches.

But Cr Bernie Bell warned that it would be on "the conscience of the council" if there was a drown- ing on the isolated beach.

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