Kiteboarders could be banned from a two-kilometre stretch of Pallarenda Beach under a Townsville City Council proposal.
The council’s Sports Recreation and Parks Committee yesterday supported recommendations to ban kiteboarders setting up and coming into shore north of Three Mile Creek after 27 concerned residents submitted a petition to Deputy Mayor Vern Veitch.
Under the proposal, all kiteboarders would be forced to set up and disembark within a 120-metre wide stretch of beach, to keep walkers and people sunbaking safe.
Final approval for the ban will be discussed at the council’s next full meeting on August 28.
The proposed restrictions come after thousands of kiteboarders flocked to Townsville for the KTA Australian Open and the Australian Kiteboarding Nationals were held at Pallarenda Beach in June, despite weather conditions being less than ideal.
In the Loop Kiteboarding owner Marvin Baumeister said the changes would negatively affect his ability to run his business, which hires equipment and provides lessons to those wanting to take up the sport.
“Under these conditions we would be stuck in about a 150-metre long stretch of beach to teach our students in the same area experienced kiteboarders are using,” he said.
“It’s going to be really dangerous for anyone wanting to take up the sport because we need that distance to separate the experienced riders from people just starting out.”
Mr Baumeister said he would consider taking legal action against the council if it went ahead with the ban.
“I spent a lot of money getting these permits from the council and if I have to go to court to protect them I will,” he said.
“It’s not a cheap business to run and it’s completely unfair to change the rules.”
Experienced kiteboarder Ian Bourne, 60, said he hadn’t ever seen an unsafe situation at Pallarenda.
“When it’s windy and perfect conditions for (kiteboarding) there are hardly any people walking along the beach,” he said.
“I have never seen any incidents between kiteboarders or anyone on the beach since I started doing this in 1997.”
Cr Veitch said the council had no power to ban kiteboarders’ movements on the water, but wanted to ensure the safety of everyone using the beach.
“This (proposal) is about making sure the beach is safe for everyone.”