Patrols thrown council lifeline

LIFEGUARDS from the fledgling surf lifesaving facility at the Salt residential/tourism precinct may in future have to fill the gap in patrols for its immediate neighbour on the southern side.

Casuarina Beach appeared set to lose its lifeguards this summer after management at the upmarket residential estate pulled the plug on future patrols.

But in an unexpected move at Tweed Shire Council's meeting last night, acting mayor Lynne Beck used her casting vote to explore the possibility of the council partly funding a patrol this summer.

Council decided along factional lines 6-5 to approach Surf Lifesaving NSW to see whether they would share the estimated $30,000 cost of providing a service this summer.

Earlier Surf Lifesaving NSW told council that the lifeguard service funded by Casuarina Beach management for the past two years would not be renewed this summer.

Surf Lifesaving NSW Far North Coast Branch president Wilson Cregan said yesterday that neither Casuarina management nor council had sought volunteer lifeguard services for the, at times, treacherous stretch of beach.

Mr Cregan said he was unaware of the Casuarina pullout and that there was nothing on the table from any organisation for volunteer services to start there.

But in the long-term, he said, the new Salt lifesaving facility, once fully approved, could extend its services further south to Casuarina given their close proximity.

"That's my point of view, but as Salt grows and with the resources they have, I can see its services extending to Casuarina," he said.

"Of course it's purely a decision for council to prioritise what service they're going to provide," he said.

Casuarina estate management originally funded its service as part of its sales promotion after council rejected a request to fund the lifeguards out of its own pocket.

Council priorities for lifeguard funding are being addressed in a beach safety strategy currently under preparation.

Mr Cregan said Ballina faced a similar situation with one popular beach, Angels Beach, not serviced by lifeguards at all.

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