“Some people want a more exciting ride,” says Joe Spinato, owner of Ultimate Swamp Adventure, “Just a week after we purchased this swamp tour Westwego lifted the moratorium on airboats so now we are intending to operate airboats here.”
Spinato is getting ready to expand his business and attract viaitora looking for a faster tour of the bayou.
Last month the Westwego City Council lifted an eight year ban on airboats. It was put in place in 2005 following a series of deadly accidents.
Since the council’s vote several residents have come forward complaining about the noise they’d have to deal with. It’s why council member Glenn Green is introducing an ordinance regulating the business, but I’m insisting airboats will help Westwego thrive, and he’s got the Mayor’s support.
“Airboats are exciting. You got the big fan on the back and they move fast and people like that, and so this is the kind of stuff we want to bring to Westwego,” says councilmember Green.
“The Hilton, the Fairmont Hotel, all those hotels book people who come in and want to go on tours. They can now do it in 15 to 20 minutes right here in Westwego,” says Mayor Johnny Shaddinger.
“They do over 100, 000 people a year and that’s just in Lafitte, so I just feel like we need to bring those people here to Westwego,” says Spinato.
Among the proposed regulations airboats must only be launched or operate from sunrise to one hour after sunset, and they must idle in any area within a radius of one mile from the nearest inhabited dwelling.
The Westwego City Council is expected to vote on the proposed ordinance on October 14th.