Difficult to enforce ban
By PETER CATON
ANY signs banning swimming at Casuarina Beach would only be advisory initially and not enforced, says Tweed Shire Council's acting Environment and Community Service director Rick Paterson.
The reason: The council has no funds to police the ban, just as its budget does not provide sufficient money for lifeguards.
Mr Paterson said he understood some councils in Sydney did enforce "no swimming" signs but any move to do that on the Tweed would be "a political decision" by the administrators.
"And it would depend on the resources that are available," he added.
While the council says it has not budgeted the $28,000 required for lifeguards at Casuarina Beach, the administrators have accepted a $122,000 tender for lifeguards at six other beaches.
Yesterday, Tweed Shire Council administrators Max Boyd and Lucy Turnbull issued a statement regarding their role in ensuring public safety, especially on Casuarina Beach.
"Casuarina is a long beach (6km), which is sparsely populated," they said.
"The surf can often be treacherous. It is not a popular and established busy public beach like Kingscliff and Cabarita.
"Over the past years the patrolling of Casuarina Beach has been paid for by a contribution from the developer. This year the developer has declined to continue this arrangement.
"The situation puts the council in a difficult position: the cost for patrolling this beach has been quoted at $28,000, which is a high proportion of the overall cost of patrolling all the beaches along the entire Tweed Coast.
"In the short term, council will do its best to undertake an analysis of the risk assessment issues along the beach, and to do its best to take all necessary measures to promote public safety."
Casuarina Beach residents are furious the council, in calling tenders, did not include Casuarina in the overall contract.
It is believed the tender was kept separate in the hope the developer of Casuarina, Consolidated Properties, would pay part of the cost.
Only one tender from Surf Life Saving Services ? the business arm of Surf Life Saving NSW ? was received.
The tender provides for two lifeguards for each of six beaches ? Cudgen, Cabarita, Fingal, Duranbah, Hastings and Pottsville ? during Christmas, and the three "non-surf- club" beaches ? Duranbah, Hastings and Pottsville ? during Easter.
Until last Christmas the services cost about half that amount because only one lifeguard was provided for each beach.
The change to two lifeguards was made following legal advice from the NSW Local Government Department.