FED UP: Residents near North Creek and the Cawarra St boat ramp in Ballina are fed up with personal water craft drivers not obeying the rules that apply to the creek and its narrowing channel.
FED UP: Residents near North Creek and the Cawarra St boat ramp in Ballina are fed up with personal water craft drivers not obeying the rules that apply to the creek and its narrowing channel. Doug Eaton

Sick of jet ski ratbags

THE residents living near the Cawarra St boat ramp in Ballina want the "radical" personal water craft (PWC) drivers who use North Creek to obey the rules.

The residents have already lobbied NSW Maritime for a large sign to be erected at the boat ramp advising drivers of PWCs - which are often referred to by the brand name of jet ski - that it is against the law to drive "irregularly" in the narrowing channel, which is popular with tourists and locals.

The sign was put up a month ago, but the problem, the residents say, hasn't stopped and they don't rule out calling for a ban on PWCs in North Creek.

Driving "irregularly", according to the NSW Maritime website, includes driving in a circle, weaving or diverting and jumping waves, and the practice isn't allowed in North Creek, or within 200m of the shore or riverbank of other restricted zones.

The residents say some of those manoeuvres cause excessive noise, and also pose a danger to swimmers, anglers, kayakers and others who also use the waterway for passive recreation - including children.

Paul Connellan has been living in the area for 12 years and said the problem of PWC riders driving "irregularly" had been going on for years, but was getting progressively worse - and was at its peak at weekends and during holiday periods.

And the PWCs, with some estimated to be travelling at 100kmh, could be as close to 30m from the shore, he said.

"It's quite a high impact when they do it (drive irregularly), often in numbers," he said. "People who live here can't escape it."

Another resident, Simon Davis, said the noise could be "unbear

able".

Mr Connellan said there were plenty of spots in the Richmond River, and out to sea, where PWC drivers could jump waves or weave around, and where it was

legal to do so.

NSW Maritime has advised the residents that it is monitoring the situation. In the meantime, PWC drivers are reminded that there are fines for driving irregularly in North Creek, from $250.


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