Wilsons Beach locals fighting to keep swimming enclosure
WHITSUNDAY Regional Council bowed to the demands of angry locals on Tuesday by amending a proposal to remove the Wilsons Beach swimming enclosure.
The council recommended the removal of the enclosure due to public safety concerns arising from increased crocodile density in the Proserpine River close to Wilsons Beach.
Furious locals launched an online petition coordinated by Wilsons Beach resident Belinda Gater that attracted more than 850 signatures in two days.
Ms Gater has lived at Wilsons Beach for 10 years and said everything in the council report was easily refutable.
"Yes its crocodile population, that's why we want it there," Ms Gater said. "Nobody's saying it's 100per cent foolproof, but take it away and you've got no protection whatsoever."
At Tuesday's council meeting, a proposal by Mayor Andrew Willcox to apply for a permit to repair the enclosure was successfully passed.
Cr Willcox said it was crucial the council had the best interests and safety of the public as a priority.
"The Department of Environment and Heritage recently alerted council to a major increase in crocodile activity in the vicinity, so it is only logical we take this into consideration," he said.
"I expressed at the meeting that the cost of the repairs was not the issue, but the safety of our residents and visitors would always be put first."
Ms Gater said it wasn't the outcome she had hoped for but also not an outright dismissal.
The council will conduct an intensive risk assessment for carrying out repairs to the enclosure, providing the level of user safety satisfies both state and local government requirements.