Waterskiing approved for upriver

By LUIS FELIU

WATERSKIERS and wakeboarders will continue to ply the upper reaches of the Tweed River despite the concerns of residents living on the banks of the waterway.

Riverside residents who wanted to limit the activity due to concerns over erosion, noise and irresponsible behaviour, failed to win support of the majority of councillors at Wednesday night's council meeting.

After a lengthy and at times heated debate over the issue on Wednesday, six councillors (mayor Warren Polglase and Crs Lynne Beck, Bob Brinsmead, John Murray, Bernie Bell and Gavin Lawrie) voted to maintain the status quo in respect to waterskiing and wakeboarding on the river.

The recommendation will be part of council's and the Tweed River Committee's submission to the NSW State Maritime Authority's draft Tweed estuary boating plan of management.

A motion by Cr Beck amending council's and the committee's response to the draft was passed 6-5.

This included recommendations to maintain the status quo and for the Tweed River Awareness Committee, a newly-formed waterskiing lobby group, to be encouraged to self-regulate activity in consultation with auhtorities.

The original staff recommendation included a ban on towing activities upstream from Murwillumbah bridge while riverfront residents called for a ban upstream from Condong bridge.

Cr Beck said the river was similar to a road in that "if you have traffic you can't say let's close the river because we don't like the noise", and that if the wash from ski boats was eroding the riverbank then council "should start doing something".

Cr Henry James said supporters of the status quo wanted to give the impression that the draft plan amounted to a total ban, but it only limited them to a small degree.



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