River rivalry in the spotlight

Stand-up paddling instructor Sally Simpson, centre, with students Toby Phillips and Adele Mepstead.
Stand-up paddling instructor Sally Simpson, centre, with students Toby Phillips and Adele Mepstead.

‘There will be no further approvals for licensed commercial aquatic activities at these sites until the review determines a management framework for these activities,’ Swan River Trust acting river park manager Stephen Lloyd said last week.

The Trust has issued two licences for SUP schools at Point Walter in Bicton and five for kite-surfing classes at Melville Beach in Applecross.

But residents near the two sites have complained to Melville council about parking congestion, safety issues and the number of classes held on the river.

Mr Lloyd said these complaints would be considered during the review, but reports of unlicensed SUP classes at Freshwater Bay would not be investigated because Peppermint Grove council had not complained.

He said the Trust recognised recreational and commercial users had rights to use the river and the review, to be completed mid-2014, would seek to regulate the operation of SUP and kite schools in order to minimise complaints.

‘If the schools had just kept the number of students down then it would have worked,’ Myaree-based Windsurfing Perth operator Reg Dan Der Sluys said.

Mr Dan Der Sluys said a possible solution was to limit each instructor to three students at a time.

Vidlers Cottesloe Surf SUP school operator David Cookson said any management of instructors was welcome, after he was given permission to hire out SUP boards at Matilda Bay and Crawley last week, in addition to classes he runs all week in the bay and weekday lessons at Peppermint Grove.

‘I think it’s a good thing to have some sort of recognised structure so people are doing the right thing for the river and other users,’ Mr Cookson said.

Paddling and kite-surfing enthusiasts will also be consulted during the review.