It’s back

It’s back

Members of the Lakes Entrance community are excited that Noel Manning, who had been operating the Main Beach paddle boats for 36 years before its recent closure, is back in operation this week.

The paddle boats were closed down following Mr Manning’s failure to sign licence agreements and pay licence fees for an 18-month period, according to council director development, Paul Holton.

However, after meeting with council staff recently to discuss maintenance and the signing of documents, Mr Manning is back in business.

“It will take me some time to get back on my feet,” Mr Manning said.

“I had four days to clear my boats out when we were closed down. Now I have a race to get everything back on track for the Christmas holidays.

“I would like to thank everyone who has supported me over the last few months. It has been humbling to see how the Lakes Entrance community can get behind one of their iconic businesses.”

Mr Holton said council had not heard from Mr Manning throughout the 18-month period and was forced to make the closure.

“It was up to Noel to complete the paperwork and pay the fees and Noel didn’t speak with us for that 18-month period.

“We are not against the paddle boats, we love having the paddle boats there, it is just he hadn?t signed the documentation and paid the fees.

“We were in a position where we could continue to offer him the opportunity to operate the paddle boats without any of the paperwork.

“Now we have a commitment from him to furnish us with that paperwork and we have addressed some concerns he had around the decking and movement of sand where the paddle boats operate from.”

Mr Holton said council had not been presented with Mr Manning’s insurance, however now that has come forth.

Mr Manning said he has “always been up to date and I had my broker inform the shire of this matter annually”.

Council offered a three-year renewal of licence in 2017 and Mr Holton said council would be happy to offer another contract at the completion of 2019.

Council has completed maintenance to the area, including decking and building up the beach.

“Council has been shifting sand around and securing the decking which gives access to the paddle boat shed in advance of commencing operation this week,” Mr Holton said.

“There have been extreme high and low tides with the dredging of the entrance, which has eroded the area, causing access difficulties,” Mr Manning said.

Mr Manning said he has been through stressful and financial hard times over the past six to eight weeks. He said the people of Lakes Entrance have rallied behind him, with a petition circulating wanting the return of the paddle boats.

Mr Manning said he has been receiving up to 50 phone calls per day enquiring about and giving support for the paddle boats.

“A lot of the statements that have been made on social media, radio and in print, in my opinion, have been completely incorrect. It has taken a huge toll on me,” Mr Manning said.

PICTURED: Council has completed maintenance to the Main Beach paddle boats  area, including decking and building up the beach.