Shute needs more
Shute Harbour boat ramp remains closed to public
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