The petition highlights the Department of Transport’s proposal to increase the speed limit for water craft from eight knots to an unrestricted speed in the Sticks Channel and may threaten the local dolphin population.
Mr Templeman said the Transport Department (Marine Division) had for many months been consulting the community through its Peel Aquatic Use Review and the proposal to increase the speed through Sticks Channel was alarming.
‘Locals people, who regularly use the waterways are very concerned that the Department is proposing a change in boat speeds that has the potential to severely impact on our dolphin population.’ he said.
‘The Sticks Channel is a narrow channel which takes all motorised boat traffic north and south into the estuary.
‘This is also a point where both motorised vessels and paddle craft converge and it is an important thoroughfare for marine creatures.
‘There appears no good reason to change the speed to Unrestricted and the petition, collected in a very short time, demonstrates the level of concern about the proposed change.”
The petition evolved from the paddling community but quickly spread to other concerned groups and individuals.
Mr Templeman said he had asked Mr Buswell to intervene.
‘At the end of the day it is not a huge imposition on boat users to keep their speeds down while they navigate the Sticks Channel, before they can increase their speed once they are in open water,” he said.
The Department of Transport is seeking further community feedback on options for change before implementing the new Peel Aquatic Use Plan.
The survey must be completed by this Friday.
Mr Templeman said the most beneficial option for dolphin safety was option B because it maintained the current speed limit.
The survey can be found at http://www.transport.wa.gov.au/marine/navigation_aids.asp.