Saturday, April 20, 2024

Aggression toward Council staff sinks safety patrols

Aggressive behaviour towards Greater Wellington Council staff has led to the suspension of safety patrols at Paremata Bridge and Mana launching ramp.

Since 2015, the Council has funded patrols over the swimming season to manage safety of swimmers and boaties at the congested launching ramp below the bridge.

Last year the intervention of a guard prevented a drowning, and reports from the security service and Greater Wellington staff suggest that the patrols have had a positive impact on safety around the launching area, Council said in a statement on Friday.

“But we’re not prepared to expose security staff to aggressive behaviour, insults, intimidation and wilful disregard of their advice,” says Greater Wellington Harbourmaster, Grant Nalder.

“While their work has improved the safety situation at the ramp it should not be at risk to themselves, particularly when the issues we are confronting are outside of our role.

“This is a potentially dangerous area, with boats coming and going from the beach as well as trailers being backed into the water. It is not a good place for swimming and parked cars on the beach make it more hazardous. We ask people to respect unimpeded access to the launching ramp and to watch out for people and boats in the water to reduce the risk of harm.”

He said the decision may be reviewed as options are considered on how to keep staff and contractors safe.  Greater Wellington is keen to work with other agencies involved in the area to develop and support a long term solution, said Mr Nalder.

“If anyone feels threatened or endangered while using this area they should contact the Police,” Council said.

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