Shute needs more

Shute Har­bour boat ramp re­mains closed to pub­lic

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS -

SHUTE Har­bour has a spe­cial place in the heart of Air­lie Beach fish­er­man Bren­den Rock.

Prior to Cy­clone Deb­bie’s wrath, Mr Rock re­called us­ing the pub­lic boat ramp at Shute Har­bour at least twice a week to go fish­ing and take his kids out to the is­lands.

“That’s the main one (I use) be­cause I live out here,” he said.

“Port of Air­lie is too far away from the is­lands if you only have a lit­tle tinny and Shute Har­bour is re­ally the heart of the is­lands.

“It’s the safest place go­ing into the reef be­cause you have the pro­tec­tion of the is­lands.”

How­ever, Whit­sun­day Re­gional Coun­cil has blocked off pub­lic ac­cess to the boat ramp and Shute Har­bour tran­sit fa­cil­ity amid safety con­cerns.

“(Whit­sun­day Re­gional Coun­cil) are ex­am­in­ing a post-cy­clone dam­age re­port they re­ceived this week from Cardno and will then de­velop a strat­egy to de­ter­mine which ar­eas can re-open in the short-term,” a coun­cil spokesper­son said.

“Coun­cil is mak­ing ev­ery en­deav­our to re-open the boat ramp for recre­ational fish­ers in the near fu­ture, but pub­lic safety is the ini­tial pri­or­ity.”

The South Molle Jetty had been de­mol­ished by coun­cil just weeks be­fore Cy­clone Deb­bie hit the Whit­sun­day coast and the Lloyd-Roberts Jetty has also been deemed “un­safe”.

Com­mer­cial op­er­a­tors such as Salty Dog Sea Kayak­ing, Is­land Trans­fers and Scam­per are still able to op­er­ate as per nor­mal from the com­mer­cial boat ramp.

But Mick Har­vey is an­other recre­ational fish­ing en­thu­si­ast af­fected by the sit­u­a­tion.

He said while there were other boat ramps to use across the re­gion, weather con­di­tions of­ten made Shute Har­bour the most vi­able op­tion.

“When it’s blow­ing southerly (winds) I go (the op­po­site) side, but with norther­lies Shute Har­bour is the side to go on,” he said.

“(Coun­cil) haven’t re­ally rushed to get the boat ramp up.”

Few peo­ple have felt the im­pact from the clo­sure more than Whit­sun­day Fish­ing World fig­ures Bob and Grant Spees.

De­spite this, the avid fish­ing en­thu­si­asts have called for pa­tience among the lo­cal fish­ing and boat­ing com­mu­nity, not­ing that all safety con­cerns needed to be ad­dressed be­fore the fa­cil­ity could be re-opened.

“Peo­ple are go­ing to scream worse if they go out and hit a mast in the mid­dle of Shute Har­bour,” Grant Spees said.

“Coun­cil isn’t (clos­ing) it be­cause they want to stop peo­ple fish­ing, it’s just a case of need­ing it to be safe for peo­ple to re­turn.

“We are los­ing money be­cause it’s closed and there is not much we can do about that.”

Fish­ing World owner Bob Spees said once things were back to nor­mal, it would be im­por­tant to stim­u­late more

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