Paddling Parramatta River Carefully and Safely Whilst Heeding all RMS NSW Waterways Rules A Journalistic Article
Konrad Lippmann was a concerned for Parramatta River local resident, who also manages Thrill team building philanthropic “Helping Communities and Working on Environmental Events”.
Back in 2011-2015. We embarked on supporting a great Sydney urban environmental initiative to clean up the Rivers campaign. Helping through our volunteerism actions. To bring increased attention, awareness and understanding for the necessity of cleaning up the pollution practices and reduction of plastic waste by paddling Parramatta River.
The Paddle from Toongabbie Creek via Northmead to Manly. Yes, you can paddle Sydney cities wonderful stretch of river that links Sydney councils and communities.
BUT WITH DUE and DIRE WARNING
There are exceptions: see RMS NSW Waterways map, exclusions and limitations here;
In 2015 with the input of Local Councils as well as the then Minister for the Environment Rob Stokes. Konrad Lippmann and Rob Stokes (see Linked In Post) built a Raft together, walked through the silted mud and paddled a raft race with his family. The actions also brought together concerned residents, councils, councillors, businesses and government officials. Intent on making a collaborative difference for our living waterways.
On this journey we witnessed some beautiful not often seen native river residents porpoising in Parramtta River. The pod of Dolphins were remarkable. We even had lovely but lonely visiting NZ Fur Seal. From which with the assistance of NPWS wildlife rescue – we removed the entangled fishing lines and hooks embedded in its skin. That had been dumped or lost by people fishing in the Parramatta River.
Witness Dolphins Playing in The Parramatta River at Meadowbank, Rhodes and Silverwater Bridge Back in 2015, In 2021 Lets Bring That Back
Whilst volunteering with City of Parramatta Council River Keepers
Get involved here : https://www.ourlivingriver.com.au/help-the-river/riverkeeper-network/
We met a fisherman at Silverwater Bridge on The Parramatta River who said he saw a pod of dolphins chasing fish. I didn’t believe him initially. Another fisherman’s tale perhaps. But he was 100% right! Incredible. Here’s a you tube clip uploaded by a Meadowbank / Rhodes / Ryde local with his son capturing the moments.
We love the kids explanation that these were indeed dolphins and not sharks. Our stunning Sydney Harbour and its waterways have been getting cleaner. Through the help of passionate and dedicated volunteers. Now Adelaide is not the only location in an Australian City that has a population of Dolphins frolicking in it’s harbour.
Inspired by the participation in Our Living Rivers in Sydney. As well as regularly paddling Lake Parramatta, Berowra Waters, Bobbin Head, Smiths Creek, Crosslands, Akuna Bay, Pittwater, Sydney Harbour, Georges River, Port Hacking, Audley, Bundeena, Cronulla. Kayaking the length of legally accessible sections of the Hawkesbury – Nepean Rivers. Narrabeen Lakes, Hacking River, Woronora River, Lane Cove Rover and Georges River around Sydney “I decided to set a goal and share the personal stories of the people that have a passion for the River that connects our city of Sydney”.
Over the past 30 years I have been regularly paddling Lake Parramatta (Hunts Creek) that descends over the Dam wall to a junction with Darling Mills Creek . Which then has a confluence with Toongabbie Creek to become the start of Parramatta River. Our Living Rivers beginnings emanate from behind the Old Bunnings – Woollen Millson onward to Parramatta Gaol.
From years of Playing Canoe Polo I was connected to Parramatta River. The Parramatta Canoe Club teams were training in the murky waters beneath Marsden St Bridges in Parramatta CBD whilst office workers walked unaware above. I have enjoyed supporting the Lake Parramatta clean up by Kayak and Rafts and many other environmental programs where I could assist with NPWS. During this time I have been priveleged, but also saddened to see the diminishing chattering native birdlife, eastern long neck turtles, perch, long fin eels, bass, native frogs, pelicans, king fishers and other aquatic wildlife.
We have became acutely aware of the dangerous pollutants in our waterways. Zinc and vulcanised rubber tyre debri run off killing entire eco-systems. Especially our vulnerable bio-indicators, native frogs.
Witnessing volumes of Waste effluents, plumes, sediments and invasive weeds washed into the river. I was and am still worried for Parramatta and all Sydney Rivers health and impacts for our families. There was and still is, damaging industrial practices. Illegal dumping of pollutants, incredible loads of identified rubbish washing down the drains and tributaries such as Darling Mills Creek, Toongabbie Creek and Hunts Creek. The plastic waste and floating garbage we can see, is only the tip of the problem.
More recently there has been an avoidable explosion of sewerage… here is the article
Note Well: The Author of this website and webpages is retaining an exemption for journalistic acts and practices.
Sydney Water convicted and fined $175k for significant …
EPA Executive Director Regulatory Operations, Stephen Beaman, said the volume of the raw sewage was significant and there was an impact, in the form of actual, potential and likely harm, on the environment, including changes to the chemical and biological condition of Toongabbie Creek and the Parramatta River.
“Untreated sewage can pose a risk to human health and can have significant environmental impacts on waterways and local ecosystems,” Mr Beaman said.
“Almost three million litres of sewerage is an extraordinary amount to overflow into a creek and then into the Parramatta River, a key Sydney waterway.”
Justice Robson found that the events leading to the discharge were foreseeable, environmental harm occurred, and that Sydney Water had control over the failure of the pumping station.
He was, however, satisfied that the penalties imposed against Sydney Water will help “contribute to the restoration and the enhancement of the environment”.
Sydney Water is required to publicise its convictions in print media including the Sydney Morning Herald and The Daily Telegraph and to post details via social media online.
The Court also ordered Sydney Water to pay the EPA’s investigation costs of $22,893 and legal costs.
Including the above matters, since 2018, the EPA has prosecuted Sydney Water for nine offences against the environment protection legislation.
In handing down his decision, Justice Robson said he considered that Sydney Water’s prior convictions “are suggestive of a continuing attitude of disobedience of the law, or a propensity to reoffend…”.
His Honour also said that given Sydney Water’s prior convictions and the system it manages, Sydney Water is likely to reoffend in the future.
Sydney Water was responsible for dumping over 3 million litres of RAW SEWERAGE EFFLUENT WASTE directly into Toongabbie Creek and Parramatta River.
The fine, a fraction of the cost of cleanup was $175,000. In my humble opinion IMHO – There is no comparison to the damage this caused our living waterways.
But today I was threatened by the RMS for legally paddling a section of Parramatta River.
Please follow all the laws and guidelines by RMS put there for your and my safety. Do not become a legal liability for RMS – NSW Waterways. Avoid being a dangerous human powered obstacle to river traffic and Sydney Harbour Ferry routes.
NEWS: NSW Maritime – COVID-19 Boating Update quoted
“From 26 June 2021 and 7th July, NSW Government Public Health Orders have been updated requiring people in Greater Sydney (including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour) to stay at home until 11.59pm on Friday, 30th July 2021 unless they have a ‘reasonable excuse’.
View the latest rules. Unless you have an essential need to be out – stay home. A ‘reasonable excuse’ to leave your home to use your vessel could be to: limited recreation (e.g. kayaking/sailing/paddling/fishing etc)” within 10km of your home. Here is how to map your radius and understand your circumference within 10km from Home for exercise during the Covid Greater Sydney Lockdown.
Do you Think that Kayaking Canoeing and Surf Ski Paddling Parramatta River should be accessible for all people as Recreation, Exercise, Fitness and Cleaning up Our Sydney Living Waterways
Back in 2011-2015 we supported and assisted Clean Up Parramatta River Campaigns on organised government sanctioned events. On the 5th July 2021, 6-11 years after our volunteer efforts and community engagement. We were insulted, bullied and threatened by a senior RMS NSW Government and Waterways representative. From which I am intimidated and concerned at the hostility encountered and now further exacerbated by an apology mixed in with further threats, false statements and a letter of demand from the Senior Manager, Customer Liaison and Information Management, Communications, Customer Strategy and Technology, Transport for NSW.
We note that Mr Drew Jones is the Senior Special Aquatic Events Officer at Roads and Maritime Services with over 18 years professional years experience in dealing with idustry, people, paddlers, boaters, sailors, ferrys and all watercraft. Here is shared is own overview of his publicly available, self administered promotional and public business Profile (5th July 2021). Where he outlines extensive experience. As well as Pictured serenely sailing a beautiful expensive luxury cruising 40ft+ sailing yacht craft. With a superbly perched powerful outboard motor. Enjoying sailing this stunning yacht off-shore from a beautiful island backdrop in a brisk downward breeze.
Noted that it may be be neigh impossible for the aforementioned senior official to safely navigate any obstacle or smaller human powered paddle craft to the starboard of the vessel that is beneath that persons field of vision. Hence could be considered an unsafe boating practice – unless the boat is tethered, docked or there are other spotters on board co-sailing the yacht. As the image we are analysing is but a brief moment in time. It is difficult to make judgements as an external viewer, not involved in that sailing experience. However this person with no connection with myself, my actions, values or interests did attack and victimise as well as denigrate, threaten and insult me.
As a representative example and warning of all other paddlers beneath his command.
This image was curated and shared, has now been requested to be removed by NSW Transport legal representation for Drew Jones.
The following is Quoted and sourced from publicly available literature on the 5th July 2021. From a social media, business to business linking site known as Linked In.
It is of a self promoting and managed identity campaign. Designed to be publicly available and to be freely shared around the world to identify the person, their abilities, employment status, experience, region, school, capabilities, professionalism and EXPERIENCE. They shared their profile publicly to the whole world, intentionally without coercion nor corruption. I searched and linked via Google their profile. Post an ‘interaction’ which I deem inappropriate for a senior NSW government official representing communicated; intent to insult, be coercive, made a negative example of, attempt to humiliate and or ridicule myself and now has become victimisation by that and other representatives of the NSW Government Senior officer.
“Roads and Maritime Services Dates EmployedFrom 2003
– PresentEmployment Duration 18 yrs Internal and external stakeholder consultation and management.
Operational planning and delivery, Exclusion Zones, navigation restrictions and coordinating Event analysis. Risk identification, assessment and mitigation. Brokering solutions and cooperation between event organisers, government agencies and waterway users.
Everything aquatic from NYE, Australia Day, Sydney to Hobart start, SOLAS Big Boat Challenge, Sail Sydney, Sail GP, Vivid, Opera on the Water, Australian Boat Race, Redbull Flugtag, Invictus Games, Majestic Princess runway arrival into Sydney – you name it I’ve been involved.”
Unfortunately and to my great detriment as well as invasion into my privacy on the 5th July 2021. I was rudely and abruptly telephoned on my mobile with a rather heavy handedly verbal threat and insults by Drew Jones – The Senior Special Aquatic Events Officer at Roads and Maritime Services. Who stated that I was “playing dumb”. Threatening actions against myself and Thrill events for promoting safe water recreation and clean up Parramatta River Campaigns. He demanded that this web page be removed. As he stated that this, and I am, (and/or words to the direct affect of) promoting people to kayak, canoe and or paddle the sections between Charles St Wharf and Silverwater bridge.
That people would, and have become copycats due to my ‘promotion’ of dangerous activities. I was and continue to be intimidated (victimised) by the call and now also by his more legally skilled representatives.
In my defence. The only thing I did was to paddle an environmentally friendly human powered plastic white water boat, then a Stellar 16ft Kayak and then a 18ft Epic v10 Sport Surfski (before being injured) on legally sanctioned sections of NSW waterways.
Please note that we at Thrill events pl do not support any people conducting illegal activities.
We encourage all people to adhere to the RMS and NSW waterways regulations, rules, laws, safety and signage. Especially if you do not agree with the lock out laws pertaining to accessing this magnificent stretch of Parramatta River around Silverwater, Rydalmere and Subiaco Creek. We do promote safe paddling and NSW water way practices, including suitable accessibility.
If you are concerned… or want action for environmental change or more safe access as we do.
Be sensibly proactive and lobby the RMS, your local Council and Councillors to make those changes.
As the nature of paddling kayaks does not mix well with Ferry’s. As well as citing RMS senior official Drew Jones. Of Ferry Masters coming across unsafe paddling in a un-sactioned section of Parramatta River is very concerning. In my personal view. The aforementioned section of Parramatta River has a no wash zone, bans all non authorised motorised and human powered or recreational water craft. Has a maximum boat speed limit of 7 knots and is…
In many ways, possibly, one of the safest places to paddle along Parramatta River.
But paddling is not allowed!
Do you think we need more safe places to paddle on Parramatta River? I do!
For recreation, training, exercise and mental health. Drew Jones was definitely annoyed at the inconvenience of paddlers like me in / on Epic surf skis especially singled out. Along side sit on tops and fishing from kayak craft. Despite me not having paddled for many months due to an injury. I am passionate about mitigating and safely managing risks, being prepared, being legally in the right place, seeking permission for access in adventure and recreation for the public. I have been targeted and made a negative example (bullied) by the RMS NSW Waterways representatives for other peoples illegal actions.
You may be wondering why all this has become such an issue – well, so am I
In the 1990’s I worked with ALS tradetest, testing sewerage and waste water from Sydney commercial and industrial sites. This experience led me to realise the amount of problematic sewage and also that sewage (sewerage) could be effectively as well as rapidly tested and traced to a single source. It is interesting to note that NSW has the ability to refine its testing techniques to wade upstream of the waste water treatment plants and start isolating possible covid sites. LINK to NSW health Surveillance
This linked article investigates the laboratories that can test and trace Sars Co V 2 – Covid 19 virus fragmentation https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-11-13/covid-sewage-testing-makes-inroads-in-coronavirus-response/12875682
Could it be that due to Covid 19 issues. More people are looking to escape lockdowns and paddling down a river seeking a new wild Sydney adventure could be their way of dealing with the stress, the anxiety and possible depression. If so, I can understand that people are looking for new ways to exercise. That getting out and paddling on the Rivers and life blood waterways of Sydney would be beneficial to their self esteem. We have all taken a battering! Not that I am expecting any sympathy. But we currently have only 2 staff working. No income. No Activities – darn it,,,,, No THRILLS.
Pardon the analogies & please do not be insulted by my humour nor mirth of dealing with frustrations here…
Dealing with rolling cancellations and postponements. Every day a barrage of waves, surging and swirling eddies of emails and crashing economic changes. Coupled with that a submergence in bills, insurances and costs that continue swelling in – it’s going to be hard to keep our heads above water.
If for you – the person who has been researching Covid safe activity ideas for paddling in Sydney, and witnessed our activities, writings, videos and musings. Take heed, make yourself aware of the rules. As well as the effluents with Covid fragmentation evidence flowing into the sewerage and out of the Sydney waste water treatment plants.
Create your own adventure by making and doing good in the world. Not all people are negative. There are good guys with good intent who love to make people laugh. Who love to bring people together to celebrate. Who loved their job and the positive impacts to community, health, education and work teams they brought.
With infectious joy and enthusiasm to Kontribute to society. To Konvey Konviction and to be myself, a 52 year old Konradical.
I guess you too are passionate and committed to making the world a better place whilst finding yours in this upheaval. I thought I was one of those good guys.
Let’s recover from this punch in the guts. Let’s make good, make peace, strive for better and paddle on relentlessly!
Thrill events suggests in light of a letter received by RMS – Transport for NSW; that you do not contact Drew Jones directly at RMS to clarify all legal sanctioned allowances for Kayaking and recreational activities on Parramatta River.
If you wish to help keep Parramatta River Clean and access Sydney’s waterways. As he is heavily defended by other senior officials such as the Senior Manager, Customer Liaison and Information Management Communications Customer Strategy and Technology – Transport for NSW
From 5th July 2021, Drew Jones from the RMS states that “organised paddles can be arranged but require coordination with stakeholders and are less likely to be approved in future, if we (the RMS) have concerns about possible copycats and promotion of dangerous activities”.
In response we at Thrill events suggest safe legally sanctioned paddling and community actions.
There are many clubs and councils that would appreciate your water based ecology community volunteerism and help. For example Lane Cove River Canoe Club;
Rivers Canoe and Kayaking Club, it is best to search:
Unfortunately in this case the RMS through the actions of an over zealous Drew Jones has fired a torpedo into our efforts. We are indeed hopeful for a positive future and with your help can make Parramatta River a proud example to cities around the World by cleaning up our water act.
FURTHER news on Parramatta River water craft accessibilty and encouragement by Drew Jones from RMS to make changes as per email 5th July 2021.
I shake my head in wonderment and disbelief of why a NSW representative government official singles me out to make me responsible and an example of all Sit on Top Kayak fishermen, to paddlers of “Epic” style surf skis.
Please read and let us know if you think that I am responsible for inciting people to act illegally?
Or did I act legally and sensibly?
Hi Konrad, I’m sure you are not wanting to put lives at risk with the information contained on your website however ferry masters have reported 4 separate interactions with kayakers/paddlers in the last 6 weeks. One of the paddlers quoted your website as where he had obtained the information it was possible to paddle from Parramatta to Barangaroo. He had loaded his kayak onto a ferry at Neutral Bay and advised the crew he was going to paddle from Parramatta ferry wharf back to Neutral Bay. The information at the top of the page to which I was referring, although clarified in text, is misleading and could lead to a marine accident or incident where a paddler may be hurt. The section of river between Parramatta and Silverwater bridge is, as you are aware, very narrow in places, has many tight bends and ferries are restricted to the channel so cannot deviate. At times they operate with sun glare affecting vision so if were to unexpectedly come across a kayaker, may not be able to stop in time. The restriction is in place to prevent recreational boaters in all craft- power, sail or passive- from possible collision and obstructing ferries. You will note there are no public launch points upstream of the Silverwater bridge and very obvious signs that unauthorised vessels are not permitted upstream of that point and that penalties apply. Occasionally, through request and subsequent planning and consultation will allow an organised activity in otherwise restricted areas- you would have possibly seen the recent Paddle NSW article about an organised river clean up in April. The article is pretty clear special permission was required and I was personally involved in making it happen. Unfortunately, copycat type activities which have not been planned and approved then make approving subsequent goodwill type activities, more difficult as we know potential boating safety risks may be increased. Your activities may be conducted in a controlled manner, however, paddlers range in experience and capability and so we have to factor in the least competent person when assessing these activities. I have been forwarded photos from ferry masters of paddlers on small sit-on-top kayaks with fishing rods as well as ‘Epic’ style surf ski’s which highlight the scope of the activities and potential skill levels we are dealing with. Thank you for removing the tagline ‘Paddle the entire length of the Parramatta River’ and replacing it with a more accurate statement so as not to inadvertently place paddlers lives in danger. Please feel free to publish this information or contact me should you require further information. Regards Drew Jones
Good afternoon Drew Jones re: Parramatta River NSW Waterways Issue – an Attack on Konrad Lippmann
Some of those paddling actions on Parramatta River were part of Naidoc week.