WATERSKIERS are preparing for another battle over time restrictions on the Hopkins River after a water safety authority overruled Warrnambool City Council’s 8am compromise.
Instead, from next year they will be restricted to a 9.30am start for training and competition, which they claim is too late to enjoy optimum calm water.
A recent ruling from Transport Safety Victoria to uphold its earlier decision on the unrestricted speed zone follows a review of river safety and months of lobbying by user groups.
It is understood the 9.30am limit will not become effective until about February after all relevant groups are officially notified, permits are approved and new signs installed.
Warrnambool Rowing Club welcomed the ruling and said it would provide clarity for all users.
“Whatever the safety authority decides we are happy to go along with,” club president Brendan Finnigan told The Standard.
Rowers and kayakers had argued that they also should be able to use the river in the calmer, early morning.
However, Warrnambool Water Ski Club president Dwayne Drake said members wanted another review.
“We’ll put a letter to the council and see how it goes,” he said.
“It will obviously involve a fresh round of submissions and consultations.
“But we believe an 8am start in calm water is vital for the club, not only for training and competition, but in retaining membership.
“To have to wait till 9.30am we may as well go elsewhere — Geelong or the Loddon near Bendigo.”
The club, which starts its summer season tomorrow, has about 40 families in its membership, including former under 21 Australian champion Tim Martin.
In August the city council decided on an 8am starting time and sunset finish for unrestricted speed in the ski zone between the old pumping station and ski club.
Speed outside the zone is restricted to 10 knots.
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