Tweed River Estuary Management Plan

Tweed Shire Council are now taking submissions on the Tweed River Estuary Management Plan (TREMP) and we would like to encourage as many river users as possible to have their say.


Click here to register your submission or read on for more information

Full Tweed River Estuary Management Plan Document

To download the full 240 page TREMP document click on the following link.

Download TREMP PDF here.

Here are three suggestions for submissions but feel free to personalise it or list other topics that you feel are relevant.

Please keep your comments professional.

1: Remove ACTION E1 CREATION OF CONSERVATION AND RESTORATION ZONE PAGE 54 of CMP…. this proposed action is not supported by the wider boating community and would push towing activity into concentrated areas potentially compromising safety and increase perceived user conflict.

2: Remove ACTION E2 PROMOTION OF CHARACTER ZONES PAGE 54 of CMP…this proposed action should be removed from the CMP as it will not improve boating safety and will congest towing activities in other areas of the river. Driver education programmes and increased compliance would improve amenity or perceived erosion issues through out the river.

3: Remove ACTION E3 PAGE 54 of CMP… this proposed action should be removed from the CMP as it intends to prevent ‘non-commercial organised eventsincluding multiple participants using motorised vessels’ which will do nothing to improve the safety and amenity of river users. Driver Education programmes and increased compliance will improve river amenity.

NOTE: your personal details are required to register.

Click here to register

Tweed River Water Ski Club Response to the TREMP

TRWSC response to inform club members of the Tweed River Estuary Management Program. 

The Tweed River Water Ski Club (TRWSC) supports a Management Plan for the Tweed Estuary and is pleased to see a wide variety of positive actions proposed in the CMP document, but are still concerned with Tweed Shire Council (TSC) continual focus on Water-skiing and wake boarding as a anti social, conflicting use and erosion creating activity. This is particularly frustrating given that water-skiing and wake boarding are actually supported by the majority of the community as seen in the community values survey commissioned by TSC and that TSC acknowledges there are many factors identified as contributing to bank erosion in the Tweed River.

  • The TRWSC does not support the creation of Character Zones, proposing additional No Towing Restrictions to Water-Skiing and Wake Boarding on the Tweed River by TSC as detailed in the Tweed River Estuary management program (CMP) as detailed in Action Description E1, E2 and E3 for the reasons listed below.
  • The Character Zones are effectively, No-Towing Zones, and equate to a ban on water-skiing and wake boarding and all towing activity and represent approximately 23-25% of the skiable length of the Tweed River.
  • The TRWSC believes the No Tow Zones, particularly at Stotts Island zone have the potential for a significant increase in risk to safety in regard to towed sports turning, stopping and re-starting skiers/boarders and ski-rope retrieval at each end of the No Towing  Zone.
  • The TRWSC believes the proposed commercial Rd boat ramp closure, will likely have the effect of displacing water-skiing and wake boarding down river, closer to the Murwillumbah Rowing Club, having the effect of exacerbating perceived conflict between users, not reducing it as stated in the CMP. This closure also renders the river section from Murwillumbah bridge to Commercial Rd boat ramp as practically unusable with a length of just 1000 meters.    
  • No data on bank erosion potential, (Bank Hydrology) was collected for the character zones where TSC is proposing No Towing Zones.
  •  No actual statistics of boating frequency or use (skiing/ boarding or cruising) were collected for the Character Zones where TSC is proposing   No Towing Zones on the Tweed river.
  • The management proposal of closing sections of the Tweed River to Towed Water Sports have only ever been presented in the SMEC impact of wake on Tweed river bank study as  hypothetical management options for discussion purposes only and as such the current proposal to ban water-skiing and wake boarding in these sections of the Tweed River is done so with uncompleted methodology and as such there is no rational basis for changing vessel management.      
  • In the Tweed River Estuary management program-community values survey when respondents were asked about typical uses on the tweed river being acceptable or unacceptable: water-skiing and wake boarding were given majority approval rates of 70% for water-skiing and 59% for wake boarding. The community have been very clear on informing TSC and Councillors of their support of various recreational activities on the river in light of the alleged primary causes of riverbank erosion and the costs of revetment works (notice of motion 9, Tweed River System – Recreational Use Strategy, council meeting 19th September 2013)
  •  National Parks & Wildlife Services – Stotts Island Nature Reserve Plan of Management states that Stotts Island Reserve is being eroded on the up river side of the Island and deposits on the down river side, especially during flood events, The Management Plan goes on to state the Desired Outcome is that  “Natural erosion and hydrological processes be allowed to continue” , NPWS does not refer to or recommend any ban on towed water sports in its management plan for Stotts Island and only mentions flooding events as a cause of erosion, TSC is not the manager of Stotts Island Nature Reserve.
  • The TRWSC considerers there is an abundance of areas for passive recreation pursuits in the Tweed Estuary and through out the Tweed Shire waterways, where water-skiing and wake boarding are already prohibited or simply do not take place because of natural constraints, although not all of these are included in the CMP study area, these areas must surely be considered and included when vessel management options are being proposed on the Tweed River in relation to providing for passive recreation use or enhancing the amenity of an area, an example of this is the proposed closure of Stotts Island Nature Reserve which is just 3km from the Rous River Canoe Trail and also has Stotts Channel and the Tweed Broadwater in the immediate area available for passive recreation use.  Areas suited to passive recreation use in the Tweed shire are many and large in size, Terranora Inlet, Terranora creek, Terranora and Cobaki Broadwater, Ukerebagh passage, Shallow Bay, Chinderah Bay, Tweed Broadwater, Boyds Channel, Stotts Channel, Cudgen Creek, Rous River, these along with other areas can be viewed on the RMS page under “boating maps”, and TSC Rous River canoe trail.
  • The TRWSC does not support the proposed No Towing Zones on the Tweed River to provide areas for passive recreation or segregation of uses based on “conflict of use” or the “enhancement of amenity” when many options exist through out the whole Tweed River Estuary system and the Tweed Shire waterways that currently provide for passive recreation use and in-fact that experience can still be enjoyed 95% of the time in the areas where towing sports do take place. 
  • The TRWSC can see no measurable outcomes with respect to the proposed No Towing Zones of the Tweed river in relation to both reducing erosion and also enhancing amenity,  the club acknowledges the difficulty in doing this; But for TSC to state that “The creation of a “No-Tow Zone around the Stotts Island area will prevent wake damaging sensitive environmental habitat, whilst increasing the areas suitability for tranquil and passive recreation uses”  The question needs to be asked, to what degree will these actions achieve this outcome?
  • TSC have no data on current vessel frequency rates or use at Stotts Island or the area above commercial boat ramp. (TRWSC contests that Stotts Island is already a very tranquil area 95% of the time and so to what degree would it become more tranquil?).  
  • NPWS management plan for Stotts Island recognises that flooding already plays a primary role in erosion and deposition and that the “Desired Outcome” is for that to continue, (To what degree does tow sport vessel wake currently do damage to sensitive habitat? To what degree will this damage be avoided if “No towing” is introduced?).
  • The TRWSC believes that if the TSC is proposing for a particular user group to forego access rights to an area, then TSC should be able to, or at the very least attempt to quantify the outcome of that action.
  • The last sentence in Action Description E3 ; Such a policy would include non-commercial organised events including multiple participants using motorised vessels, and also the corresponding details column; It is considered that the impacts of certain high impact water sports are contrary to the objectives and intent of the Tweed Estuary Coastal Management Program and as such activities that generate such impacts will be assessed through the development of objectives and assessment criteria, in a LEP clause. High impact water sports would be classified as those involving high levels of noise, wake, speed, risk, pollution. This action it was not included in the public exhibition draft, (pre Draft document), the origin of this non-commercial element is currently unexplained by TSC, it seems to have just appeared in the management plan.
  • TRWSC has thus far been advised that Ski club days the Christmas party and Easter Weekend events would most probably be able to continue without needing approval from TSC but that it is expected that the Nev Wilson Ski Race would need to be approved by TSC and then Councillors The TRWSC is unable to get clarification on the intent of this action or the definitions of “high levels of noise, wake, speed, risk, pollution”. It is of considerable concern for the TRWSC and its members as holding events like the Nev Wilson Ski-Race could now require a Development Application and approvals and be subject to fees and need to be approved by councillors at council meetings. The Nev Wilson Ski Race has been running for over 25 years using permits and licensing from Tweed Shire Council and NSW Maritime with no major incidents or collisions and has been supported by the community during that time. The TRWSC encourages club members to categorically refuse this wording and intent. 
  • The TRWSC is very concerned as to what TSC is trying to achieve with this action in the CMP, the inclusion of this serves no purpose to the environmental management of the Tweed River other than to use the burden of regulation on motorised sports events on the Tweed River to the point of collapse.

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