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Group meet over boating ban concerns

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December 07, 2017

Wakeboarding could be a thing of the past between Corowa and Bundalong junction should a proposed ban go ahead.

A group of local business owners from Yarrawonga-Mulwala, Bundalong and Corowa along with Federation Councillors and various stakeholders met last Friday to discuss their concerns about the planned ban on wake enhancing boating between Corowa and Bundalong.

The group met at the same time the Draft Murray River Erosion Management Plan was released by RMS following confirmation last week by NSW Maritime Minister Melinda Pavey that a trial ban limiting wake enhancing boats for three years would start in Easter, 2018.  
Federation Council Mayor Pat Bourke said the meeting brought about some very positive outcomes and actions in regards to issues around the trial ban.
“It is clear the Murray River health is very important to all of us as it plays an important part in our lifestyle and the viability of all our communities situated along it,” Federation Council Mayor Pat Bourke said.
“Therefore this issue is very close and very important to us and we want to achieve the right outcomes for all.”
Mayor Bourke said it is imperative any evidence and science used to make decisions is factual and relevant to the actual locations and boating uses in question.
“I am of the understanding that boat wash only contributes to less than two per cent of the overall erosion of river banks. So using erosion to ban boating is questionable.
“I believe the best approach is to roll out more education on responsible boating in our communities. 
“Banning boating in any form will only have major and far-reaching socio economic impacts on this region.”
Victorian Member for Ovens Valley Tim McCurdy who also attended the meeting said it was very productive.
“The group understands the health of the river comes first, they want what is best for the river and the community.
“We need a balance and must find a way so all groups have a co-existence.
 “There is a responsibility on boat users to do the right thing in regards to matters such as this.
 “The opportunity is here now for consultation with boat users over the summer period and people should take that and have their say,” he said.
“The ball is in the court of the tourist population along the Murray River to share their thoughts over the summer.”
The proposed ban is expected to start next Easter and last for a minimum of three years but could be five years.  
Bundalong Tavern owner Brett Butler said the town depended on boating for its survival.
“This ban will have a devastating effect on the community.  They need to prove to us the evidence that boating is causing erosion,” Brett said.
The group plan to roll out their own response to the draft plan in the coming weeks.
The draft River Murray (Corowa to Ovens River) Erosion Management Plan was released last Friday on the RMS website along with a community consultation period over the coming summer months including public information sessions to be held in Bundalong, Corowa and Yarrawonga over January and February.  Submissions close February 28.  
Have your say.
Feedback can be provided via the project website, email to [email protected], or mail to Murray River Erosion Project, Roads and Maritime Services, Locked Bag 5100, Camperdown NSW 1450.
Visit a drop-in information session to find out more about the plan, ask questions and leave feedback at:
Bundalong: 6-8pm on Monday 15 January 2018 at the Bundalong Community Centre, Bundalong Recreational Reserve, Pyke Street, Bundalong
Yarrawonga: 6pm-8pm on Tuesday 13 February 2018 at the Yarrawonga Community Hall, Orr Street, Yarrawonga
Corowa: 6pm-8pm on Thursday 15 February 2018 at Memorial Hall, Sanger Street, Corowa.
For more information call 1800 316 622 or visit www.rms.nsw.gov.au/projects/south-coast/MurrayRiverErosion.html

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