Tuross Volunteer Rescue Association (VRA) president David Campbell wants Eurobodalla Shire Council to spend $30,000 to reopen the entrance of Tuross Lake to the main beach.
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The entrance to Tuross Lake became blocked 12 months ago. Since that time the VRA has been unable to access the main beach, where three swimmers were pulled from the water earlier this year.
“We were lucky in that situation that a group of locals were able to get them out safely,” Mr Campbell said. “They were safe by the time we got our boat across the sand.”
To get their boat into the ocean Mr Campbell said five VRA members had to use blow-up sausages and “walk” the boat across the blocked lake entrance.
“We drive the boats as far as the water will allow and then we have blow-up sausages that we slip under the front and back and roll the boat,” he said.
“It takes five men a good half hour and, by the time we’re finished, we’re too buggered for anything else.”
The group is proposing council foot the bill for the extension of an existing bridge at the caravan park, which is currently used for pedestrian access.
“It needs to be about the same size as a trailer,” he said. “It would not only give access to us, but also increase disabled access to the beach. At the moment we have a wheelchair for people to use on the beach but it is almost impossible to get it onto the sand.”
The idea was flagged at an emergency services meeting nine months ago. Council has since told the group that it is unable to provide funding for the new infrastructure.
“It’s that same old Tuross thing,” Mr Campbell said. “We can have it if we pay for it ourselves.
“My worry is that someone will drown at the beach because council refuses to pay the $30,000 to widen the access. How do you explain that? Do you say, ‘Sorry, it was too expensive’?”
Pointing at the ample toilet facilities in Tuross Head, Mr Campbell said he questioned if local government money was being spent in the right areas.
“We’ve got more toilets per head then anywhere else,” he said.
“There is a chance that someone will drown if this isn’t fixed. From council’s point of view, it
could be very embarrassing.”
COUNCIL IS WILLING TO MEET
Eurobodalla Shire Council is aware of the concerns raised by the Tuross VRA relating to beach access following the closure of the lake entrance.
Roads and recreation group manager Warren Sharpe said the VRA indicated they currently undertook rescue by surfboard, but that gaining access for their rubber ducky was problematic.
“The VRA is currently pursuing assistance from the community and have indicated they already have a number of people willing to assist and will be contacting others to help them in their cause,” he said.
“We have indicated that we are prepared to meet with the VRA on-site when they are ready to do so to discuss this access further.”
Mr Sharpe said council had offered the VRA use of the access to the sewer pump station off Coila Beach, which the VRA had advised was suitable to access the beach.
“The VRA have indicated they wish to continue to pursue the improvements to the access of the cul-de-sac behind Tuross main beach as this provides an easier launch in some conditions,” he said.
According to Mr Sharpe, council previously applied for grant funds to upgrade this access but was unsuccessful.