By Jared Loughnan
With the first information meeting around the planned boating bans on this Monday many boat users around Bundalong want safety measures not bans.
The Draft Murray River Erosion Management Plan which was released by NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) on December 1 recommends a trial ban on wake enhancing boats and activities between Bundalong and Corowa for three years, even up to five years.
The first information session on the plan is to be held in Bundalong at the Pyke Street Recreational Reserve this Monday, January 15 from 6-8pm.
The Bishop family who have owned a holiday house in Bundalong for nine years said they have noticed boats have become bigger every year and wake surfing had become more popular in recent years.
“There does need to be more education. It’s all about safety and showing some common sense, Mike Bishop said.
“The boats are getting bigger and should avoid the narrows and use the wider parts of the river or the lake.
“Wake surfing should not be allowed on the river. Their wake is so large we have to slow down or turn around to avoid them,” he said.
The Bishops believe banning any form of boating is not the answer but conceded there must be a better way to manage and restrict users so everyone can enjoy the river safely.
Bundalong long-standing holiday home owner Sharn Hanley said the ban was a good idea and would like to see wake enhancing boats and activities moved further downstream to Majors Creek and Lake Mulwala.
“We need to save the river upstream in the narrows,” he said.
Ben Murphy from Melbourne said he has been holidaying in the area for over 35 years and agreed any ban or restriction should be put in place after community consultation and relevant evidence.
“The ban needs to have the proper evidence,” he said.
An online petition trying to stop the proposed ban on wake enhancing boating between Bundalong and Corowa has attracted over 7000 signatures in just six weeks.
The Save Boating on the Murray River group, which started the online petition that is being sent to NSW Maritime Minister Melinda Pavey and various local state and federal politicians, wants to shift the issue from erosion to improving and educating boat users on safety and etiquette on the water.
Bundalong Tavern owner and group member Brett Butler said the majority of people are against the ban and believes erosion is not sufficient reason to enforce it.