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Permits, charges take toll on beach operator

ONE of the Fraser Coast's best-known tourist operators is selling his jet boats to prepare for the fight of his life to keep the vision of a business expansion.

Aquavue Cafe and Watersports owner Larry Burch has been hit with huge price increases in electricity, insurance and permit costs.

The Hervey Bay man admitted he had plans to sell his two jet boats and pull back his operations.

While the funds raised from the boats sale will partly go toward making up the price increase, Mr Burch also revealed he had plans to expand the cafe to drive more people to his business.

Mr Burch said the plans involved an outdoor alfresco-type atmosphere - and would revolutionise the region's tourism industry.

"It will offer locals and visitors an experience different to other places," Mr Burch said.

"And add another dimension to tourism."

Despite the vision to expand Aquavue, Mr Burch faces a tough time making ends meet.

"Our costs this year- have gone up 20%," he said.

"That's why businesses are going broke - costs are going through the roof."

While he partly blames the Fraser Coast Regional Council for difficult beach permits, Mr Burch claimed the bureaucratic system was hurting all businesses.

"We wonder why things are not going right here," he said.

Fraser Coast Mayor Gerard O'Connell declared the council's support for Aquavue and Mr Burch.

Mr Burch declared the calm waters of Hervey Bay as the biggest problem- with several permits required to use it.

"Anyone who has anything to do with that has dramas," he said.

When asked what the future of Aquavue was he paused, and became defiant.

"I'm not going to tuck my tail between my legs and head for the hills," he said. "I will win, I'm not going to let this go."

Topics:  aquavue costs electricity fraser coast regional council hervey bay insurance jet boat permits torquay



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