More access for superyachts a 'concern': tourism operators
SUPERYACHTS and jetskis were on the minds of some Whitsunday tourism operators as they examined amendments to the Whitsunday Plan of Management today.
Jenny and Bill Mairs of iSail Whitsundays attended the public information session on the plan, which was last updated nine years ago.
Ms Mairs said while she was happy to see the plan reviewed, some of the amendments concerned her.
"Before (under the existing plan) jetskis were only allowed around Daydream Island but the proposal is that they could go to very peaceful parts of the marine park, so I don't understand why jet skis should he hooning around there," she said.
"Jet skis and superyachts can (under the proposed plan) come into various areas around Funnel Bay, Cid Island and up near Langford Spit and Hayman Island.
"They will have more access to anchor there, (but) the whole idea is to make it like a marine park so we don't want big boats in a relatively small area."
Mr Mairs said it was important for the Whitsunday marine park to remain well protected.
"People come to the Whitsundays because it is a natural environment, (so) to have more access for superyachts and helicopters and jetskis is a concern," he said.
The couple said they would be making a submission to the authority.
GBRMPA draft amendments cover a range of issues including the removal of reef walking as a permitted activity, extending no-access times for vessels during nesting seasons in specific zones, more flexibility for superyacht anchorages, and more access for cruise ships and vessels greater than 70 metres in length.
Ms Mairs commended GBRMPA for bringing forward the review.
"I think its good the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority are reviewing something that's been in place for many years," she said.
After public consultation closes, the plan is provided to the Marine Park Authority Board and Federal Executive Council for approval.
An evening information session is being held today from 5.30-7.30pm.