River trust sinks foreshore boats

IT could be rubber duckies at dawn as the Swan River Trust and Bayswater city council go prow-to-prow over dinghies.

Boat owners at Clarkson Reserve use the dinghies to get to their vessels and unofficially store them on the foreshore, often chaining them to the fence of the Maylands boat yard.

The SRT says dragging the boats ashore and storing them on the ground damages vegetation and causes erosion.

It wants Bayswater city council to build storage racks ($20,000-$50,000) or bollard and chain storage ($2000-$3000).

A boat yard staffer, who wished to remain anonymous, says half the dinghies next to the fence have been abandoned and are not seaworthy.

“The dinghies have nothing to do with us and we cut the chains to discourage people using our fence as a security measure,” she said.

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SACRED SITE OR JUST HOLEY? Dinghies on the Swan River foreshore in Maylands. Photo by Matthew Dwyer

“I actually think they don’t do much damage to the foreshore: I think the SRT just want rid of them for aesthetic reasons.”

Officers say the 15-20 dinghies stored at Clarkson Reserve have “minimal impact on the shoreline” and could be accommodated by the WA transport department, which owns moorings at the site.

“It should be noted that this approach would likely result in the SRT removing the dinghies at Clarkson Reserve,” wrote officers.

“…the matter can become a politically contentious issue.

“It can potentially polarise the community for and against dinghy storage along the river.”

Another storage option involves dinghy owners being charged a $50 annual registration fee.

The SRT issued a policy in 2010 that “generally prohibits” dinghy storage on the foreshore, affecting all riverside councils.Melville banned all dinghies last July. The issue comes before the council later this month.

by STEPHEN POLLOCK

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