Op­er­a­tor sets record straight

Broome Advertiser - - Front Page - Jakeb Wad­dell

The owner of a jet­ski hire com­pany ex­pand­ing to Broome next year has set the record straight over claims his award-win­ning busi­ness will be a detri­ment to the en­vi­ron­ment and res­i­dents.

Ul­ti­mate Wa­ter­sports was given the green light to run a wide range of wa­ter ac­tiv­i­ties at Cable Beach next year, in­clud­ing jet­skis, jet­packs, wake­boards, tubes, wakesurf­ing, pedal bosts and glass­bot­tom kayaks.

The com­pany, cur­rently op­er­at­ing in Ger­ald­ton and Ex­mouth, will run from a shop trailer 660m south of the beach’s ve­hi­cle ac­cess ramp from 9am-5pm every day be­tween May and Oc­to­ber and has a li­cence sub­ject to terms and con­di­tions un­til June, 2023.

The pro­posal was unan­i­mously passed at a Shire of Broome coun­cil meet­ing in Oc­to­ber, a move that was wel­comed by the town’s busi­ness and tourism lead­ers, as well as a ma­jor­ity of lo­cals.

But some res­i­dents ex­pressed their con­cerns about the im­pact it would have on the sur­round­ing ma­rine life and en­vi­ron­ment, as well as the “tran­quil­lity” of the beach.

UW owner Lind­say Can­non said many had cho­sen to hit out and use points that were “un­true and hurt­ful” to the busi­ness.

In a let­ter pub­lished in the Novem­ber 8 edi­tion of the Broome Ad­ver­tiser, a reader said they were “as­tounded that this ap­pli­ca­tion was passed with­out even a mur­mur from the coun­cil­lors” be­cause Roe­buck Bay was a des­ig­nated ma­rine park.

Mr Can­non said the point was strange, given the com­pany had a ma­rine park li­cence to op­er­ate on the Nin­ga­loo Coast near Ex­mouth and had been ed­u­cat­ing tourists on the en­vi­ron­men­tal prob­lems faced by the ecosys­tems spe­cial to the area. “Our skis ac­tu­ally are still bound by the same speed rules as any other ves­sel in that area, yet they are small, don't need much wa­ter and don’t have a pro­peller to dam­age reef or ma­rine life,” he said.

“In Broome, we ac­tu­ally hope to go one step fur­ther in work­ing with De­part­ment of Parks and Wildlife and the Yawuru peo­ple to help fund ways to pro­tect the snub-nosed dol­phins and ed­u­cate peo­ple on the cur­rent en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues faced by this re­gion.”

An­other let­ter, pub­lished on Novem­ber 29, stated jet­skis would travel up to 138km/h in an area not closed to swim­mers, fish­ers, pad­dlers and ma­rine life.

Mr Can­non said the skis were not ca­pa­ble of any­where near the speed sug­gested and there were com­pre­hen­sive pro­ce­dures, train­ing and risk man­age­ment poli­cies in place to make all ac­tiv­i­ties safe.

“As a for­mer life­guard my­self, we don't wish to have any in­ter­ac­tions be­tween swim­mers and our ves­sels,” he said.

Mr Can­non thanked those who had taken the time to con­tact him and en­cour­aged oth­ers to do the same.

“It is sad that these days the first thing peo­ple do is jump onto so­cial me­dia and com­ment with­out find­ing out more,” he said.

“We are a small fam­ily-owned com­pany that wishes to train and em­ploy lo­cal peo­ple. You never know, you may even point some­thing out that will ac­tu­ally bring a pos­i­tive out­come for all.

“We look for­ward to be­ing a part of the Broome story from May un­til late Oc­to­ber next year with all of our wa­ter­sports fun.”

Pic­ture: Zoe Keenan

Ul­ti­mate Wa­ter­sports owner Lind­sayCan­non.

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