CROC STUDY CRUCIAL
Swimmers await findings of croc audit before heading back into the water
THE Wilsons Beach swimming enclosure may have been granted a reprieve after a council back-flip on the decision to demolish the structure was announced last Tuesday, but has that been enough to placate angry residents?
Driving force behind the campaign to save the swimming enclosure and principal petitioner of a Change.org appeal, Belinda Gater, was heartened by the success of the online message which garnered more than 850 signatures in two days.
However she was not entirely satisfied with the decision made by the Whitsunday Regional Council in the wake of strong community criticism of a plan to get rid of the structure.
“After reading the letters than had been submitted to council I think its a case of ‘well, we want it removed but we are going to make it a State Government problem’,” she said.
Last week council resolved to “undertake a comprehensive risk assessment” of the swimming enclosure which was damaged by floating debris in the wake of Cyclone Debbie.
Council resolved to repair the enclosure if a crocodile audit – to be conducted by the Department of Environment and Heritage – deemed swimming to be safe at the beach.
Council also noted “should the risk assessment ascertain a level of risk unpalatable to the state and local government the facility (will be) removed from use”.
“I was a little bit disappointed by the result especially from the councillors that stood for election on a family values platform,” Ms Gater said.
A move to repair the enclosure was moved by Division 3 councillor, John Collins but was knocked back four votes to three at last week’s council meeting. Mayor Andrew Willcox moved an amended motion to conduct a risk assessment of the area.
This motion was passed five votes to two.
Cr Collins called for a division and voted against the amended motion with Peter Ramage “as we both wanted the enclosure as it is now to be repaired”.
“So now I guess it’s a waiting game,” he said.
“(We will) have to go through the process of applying for a permit then design.
“I’m sorry. (But) I promise that I will keep the fight going for the enclosure,” Cr Collins wrote on Facebook in the wake of the decision.
Ms Gater said she was “relieved it was not an out and out removal but a bit disappointed that we now will be tied up in red tape”.
SWIM SAFE WAIT: Wilsons and Conway Beach residents opposed to the removal of the Wilsons Beach swimming enclosure rally support for the cause in front of the damaged structure which has been out of action since Cyclone Debbie hit in March last year.