A Bush Nippers group at Wagga Beach has been touted by many as a solution to river drownings, and it could soon become a reality with council taking steps to implement the program.
Wagga City Council's Inland Water Safety Management Plan, adopted in June, included 13 recommendations for new infrastructure, programs to increase community awareness and other safety initiatives.
The implementation of the plan is under way, with the council now taking expressions of interest for the operation of a Bush Nippers or similar type of program.
The council's strategic recreation officer, Peter Cook, said they were hoping to see it kick-off in summer.
"Expressions of interest for a Bush Nippers or similar type of program are open now and as part of the plan, council will provide up to $7000 towards establishing the program and purchasing equipment," he said.
"We are keen to hear from any providers out there or community members and groups interested in providing these kinds of programs.
"One of the other initial projects from the plan will be the design of an emergency access boat ramp at Wagga Beach over the next six months or so."
Other initiatives included lobbying the NSW government to provide free or subsidised swimming lesson programs, and investigating how to provide water rescue equipment in a vandal-proof cabinet at reserves.
Wagga City councillor Vanessa Keenan has been gunning to implement Bush Nippers for more than a year.
"The most effective way to increase river safety awareness is to teach kids the skills and knowledge early," Cr Keenan said.
"Kids are also great at reminding us adults when we get complacent around safety.
"We live right alongside one of the most dangerous inland waterways in the country but there is no reason why we can't respect the river and enjoy all it has to offer, and for our kids to learn how to do so also."
For more information, or to make a submission, contact Mr Cook on 1300 292 442 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.