‘It will totally kill the club’ – Roker Park Model Boat Club opposes the installation of a wildlife raft

Members of Roker Park Model Boat Club are opposing efforts to have a safety raft for wildlife installed on the boating lake.

Tuesday, 27th July 2021, 7:00 am

It comes as a pair of breeding swans decided to nest at the boating lake in Roker Park – with one cygnet hatching and sadly dying at the start of July.

Sunderland City Council were forced to put a fence around the nest to deter people from disturbing them, prompting the launch of fundraising efforts to have a safety raft installed on the lake.

Roker Park Model Boat Club is opposing the installation of a raft, with committee member Alan Wilkinson, from East Herrington, highlighting that the man-made lake is not suitable for wildlife

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Roker Park Model Boat Club are opposing the installation of a wildlife raft on the boating lake.

The 78-year-old said: "It is a man-made boating lake and therefore it isn’t suitable or sustainable for a pair of breeding swans such as others in Sunderland like Mowbray or Barnes Park.

"Encouraging them to stay there is on par with keeping them in a zoo, it is really cruel as people are always throwing rubbish in that lake and we are constantly putting on waders and cleaning it up.

“We aren’t opposed to the swans being there, they always come and go and it is sad that the cygnet died but chances are that it could happen again as the lake is just not sustainable.”

Alan Wilkinson says that the boating lake is not suitable to be able to sustain a pair of breeding swans.

He added: “In normal times we often hold events for our members, other model boating groups and the public to come along and get involved in.

"We are constantly representing the city are model boating events across the country, with some members even winning awards for the boats that they have built.

"All the boats are controlled by a remote signal and a raft in the middle of the lake will block that, it will totally kill the club.

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Club secretary Ernie Dawson is worrying that if a safety raft is installed, it will damage the club.

“The boats are built from scratch and cost upwards of £500, the last thing we want is for a breeding swan to attack and sink a boat but that could happen.

"We haven’t been involved in any of the planning and if it is approved, our main hobby and wellbeing will be taken away from us.”

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The cygnet in Roker Park sadly died earlier this month.