Cannonvale residents say 'we do want net'

THUMBS DOWN: Not everyone is happy with the decision to remove the stinger net at Cannonvale Beach.
THUMBS DOWN: Not everyone is happy with the decision to remove the stinger net at Cannonvale Beach. Dane Lillingstone

IT'S deja vu for some Whitsunday residents as they relive the same scenario that played out at Cannonvale Beach in 2014.

That was the first time they were told there was going to be no stinger net at their local beach.

Yet again in 2016, Whitsunday Regional Council has said that due to limited use there were no plans for the net to be re-installed over this stinger season.

Instead a $205,000 budget allocation will be spent on re-sanding the beach and upgrades such as new barbecue shelters and providing a connection between green areas over the existing drain.

Cannonvale councillor Ron Petterson said his focus was on the upgrade works and that the decision could be reassessed once they were completed.

"Council officers conducted visual audits of the usage of Cannonvale Beach over regular periods during stinger season, which revealed minimal usage by the community,” Cr Petterson said.

However Cr Petterson said he would be open to fighting for the net - if the public wanted it.

"I encourage anyone who utilises the area for swimming currently and would like to see the stinger net reinstalled to email me so I can present a solid case to councillors,” he said.

Cannonvale resident Maz McDougall protested two years ago when the removal of the net was first floated and said locals still wanted it.

"I think it's a great idea that council is spending over $200,00 to beautify the Cannonvale Beach area, however with such a huge amount being spent on the project, I would be questioning how many people would use the area without having a net for us and our children to be able to have a swim without relative safety,” she said.

"Two years ago when council decided to remove the net ... there was no public consultation whatsoever.

"A petition started in July given on August 12, 2014 had 2327 signatures from locals and tourists and the decision was reversed.

"I spoke to council and they said they monitored the beach for over a week to see how many people used it.

" I then I asked when this survey was done they said May 2015. May? Are you kidding?”

Jeni Borellini has lived on Beach Rd for 16 years and goes to the beach every day.

"People are always down here using the beach,” she said.

"In this day and age of trying to get people out of the house, to take it away from the community, it's just ridiculous.”

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