Call to ban kite surfers

Sid Wilson and fellow nearby residents are tired of the trouble caused by kitesurfers in their area.
Sid Wilson and fellow nearby residents are tired of the trouble caused by kitesurfers in their area.

They have had enough of kite surfers landing in their front yard, on the road and blocking the traffic by parking illegally and said the solution was to ban the water sport in that specific location.

‘We are not against kite surfing, we just think it should be done where there are buffer zones like beaches, not 10m away from houses,’ Applecross resident Sid Wilson said.

The Melville Beach Road resident and his neighbour were among a group of locals who called for kite surfing to be banned. They said the current regulations were being ignored because it was not policed.

A spokeswoman said that in 2008, the Department of Transport had installed buoys 50 metres from the shoreline to help with the safety of kite surfing.

‘The buoys alert kite surfers when surfing that they need to head away from the shore to maintain a safe distance from the shoreline,’ she said.

However, Kim Crawford said kite surfing had escalated in the area in the past two years due to the popularity of the sport and the perfect southwesterly winds, which made it increasingly dangerous for the local residents.

‘It would not be unusual to see up to 100 kite surfers out there at once and I can’t count the amount of times we or our neighbours have had kites land in out front yard,’ she said.

Mr Wilson said the safety factor was paramount.

‘Someone is really going to get hurt. To date several serious injuries have already occurred along Melville Beach Road,’ he said.

Another resident said she had seen a mother pushing her pram who had to duck from a kite surfer on the footpath.

‘It’s too dangerous and the illegal parking is unsafe ” that’s another accident waiting to happen,’ Mr Wilson said.

This month, Melville council will vote on whether it supports two applications from kite surfing operators for permits to conduct lessons from Point Walter to Melville.

Locals are urging the council not to support them. While the decision falls with the Swan River Trust, it has asked the City of Melville for an opinion.

Swan River Trust Riverpark manager Laurie Caporn said he was aware of issues raised by local environment groups and residents but said it monitored kite surfing activities through regular river patrols. He said most concerns were related to the behaviour of some kite surfers rather than the number.