ACT News


Locals upset over Nelligen jet boat plan

Overlooking the Clyde River, upstream from Batemans Bay, bed and breakfast operator Frank Loges and his guests prefer watching seals and ducks, rather than a speedboat towing skiers off the banks of Nelligen.

''So many people we talk to are driving down from Canberra or Sydney to see and experience the beauty of the Nelligen foreshore,'' Mr Loges said.

But tourist operator Jacob Castagna said the joy of his twin jet boat will overwhelm critics.

Mr Castagna has applied to Eurobodalla Shire to access the river and Corrigans Beach seven days a week from an hour after sunrise until an hour before sunset.

If his application is successful, the boat will pull water skiers, banana boats, tubes, kneeboards and other similar equipment, or tour the river.

Eurobodalla Shire has recommended granting Mr Castagna's one-year licence, saying the jet boat will be an attraction and activity for local residents as well as tourists.


But Mr Loges and his wife Beatrice said the river was already overcrowded during holidays. ''[There are] jet skiers speeding up and down the river, zigzagging around the houseboats, speedboats speeding up and down or going in circles, paddle boats, kayaks, water skiers running crosswise, falling down into the water somewhere unexpected, [and] people swimming,'' Mr Loges said.

The Loges said Nelligen's small foreshore was becoming cramped with all the concrete boat ramps and car parking spaces.

Nelligen resident Sharyn Saville questioned the timing of Eurobodalla Shire's notice of the proposal, which was pasted on the riverfront just before Christmas during a recent upgrade of the foreshore, notifying the public that objections needed to be lodged by January 16.

''If residents don't walk down to the river, they miss being notified of a situation which has the potential to greatly impact their wellbeing,'' Ms Saville said.

Improvements for extra traffic had not stopped visitors and their trailers overflowing into surrounding streets and parks, she said.

''Where will the increased traffic park once a facility of this nature is allowed to operate?''

Ms Saville said the council was vocal about Nelligen's heritage but did not object to an activity that could ruin the essence of the village.

The Loges said noise and air pollution would spoil the river and oil spills would threaten the Clyde River's famous oysters.

''We think the picture Nelligen foreshore will turn into will be more … a circus than a place for tourists to enjoy the river.''


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