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Local boaties are all smiles after Port Stephens Council have moved to reopen boat ramps on Monday, 27 April for resident anglers only.
The reopening comes after Council closed boat ramps to all watercraft except for essential services as fears mounted that tourists would crowd waterways over the Easter break and put unnecessary pressure on emergency personnel.
In an online statement Port Stephens Mayor Ryan Palmer said that after consultation with relevant stakeholders it would be safe to reopen ramps after the holiday break.
“After Tuesday nights Mayoral Minute and consulting with emergency services, boat ramps will be open to Port Stephens residents only from the 27th of April,” said Mayor Palmer.
“The ramps will be only open for activities that have been deemed as exercise by the NSW Government, this does include fishing.
“Thank you for your help in slowing the spread of COVID-19 in Port Stephens and please ensure that you carry ID showing your residential address.”
Local angler and can-bar enthusiast James Eaton said it was necessary for the ramps to close but welcomed the news of the reopening for the fishermen of Port Stephens who’ve been landlocked the last few weeks.
“Closing the boat ramps was a no brainer to keep the kooks off the water for the Easter period,” said Mr Eaton.
“My deep freezer has taken a heavy hit over the last month or so but I’m looking forward to loading up some weight and getting amongst the wash to get a decent feed in.”
Council have also reminded residents that they can still only leave home with a reasonable excuse and must obey social distancing measures.
“I can think of nothing more reasonable than having a sip and a flick on the pristine waters of Port Stephens,” said Mr Eaton.
For all local updates on the COVID-19 restrictions head to https://www.portstephens.nsw.gov.au/your-council/news/covid-19-update-from-psc.
By Mitch LEES