Australian Town Council Bans Kiteboarding Without A Permit

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BEACHGOERS are being threatened with a $200 fine for “harnessing the wind” without council permission.

Signs have sprung up at local beaches this week warning that using the wind for kite surfing and other unspecified activities is prohibited without a permit.

Port Adelaide Enfield environmental health manager Ian Hawkins said kite surfers were a danger to swimmers and others on the beach.

“The council had a couple of incidents involving kite surfers and one quite serious incident where a kite surfer ended up tangled with someone on the beach,” he said.

Mr Hawkins said there was no plan to repeat Holdfast Bay council’s ban on some hand-held kites.

“The permit doesn’t mean that people can’t do it, they just do it with the necessary safety precautions and knowledge,” he said.

A new Port Adelaide Enfield by-law banning kites “used for the purpose of pulling or carrying a person” comes into force on December 21. Permits are only available through membership of the South Australian Kite Surfing Association at an annual cost of $65.

Mr Hawkins said the law was “just vague enough” for the council to crack down on new kite sports that may be invented in the future.

But some people have complained that ambiguity opens the door to abuses of power.

In September, acting Ombudsman Ken MacPherson told a parliamentary committee some councils were maliciously issuing expiation notices for animal, traffic and other infringements.

West Lakes Kite Shop owner Phil McConnachie is a key organiser of the annual Adelaide International Kite Festival, run in conjunction with Port Adelaide Enfield Council.

He claims he has been “targeted” by officials and told to cease kite surfing even before the new laws have come into force.

“They’re basically trying to restrict the hell out of it as best they can,” he said. “We are courteous to the other beachgoers and give way to everyone.”