It is with continued frustration that local business chambers, community groups and residents approach Eurobodalla Shire council with ideas and enterprise only to find themselves turned away at least or ignored completely at most.
Eurobodalla Council offers a deceptive call to the community to participate in the Future however the bottom line is that they will only consider an idea if it agrees with their own. They claim consultation however most feel that their definition of consultation is a public meeting that delivers rhetoric and at the end ticks a box somewhere in the grand report card that they engaged with the community. Recent examples of Council's "engagement" are their fingers-in-ears approach to the off-leash dog area in Corrigans Reserve. They also had total fingers-in-ears with their proposal to reclassify culturally significant aboriginal heritage land so that they could erect a shed that the Tuross head community gave an emphatic NO to. Max Castle and Adam Martin have been trying their best to have small recreatioanal fishing pontoons installed with State money to enhance the facilities of a recreational fishing industry that brings over $300 million per year to the South East. Sadly it appears that any thought, any idea, any enterprise offered to Council seems to find itself delivered to a dead end long before the councillors even hear of it. Council staff, for one reason or another, chose not to pass ideas up the line as you might imagine. Instead they basically nip in the bud any idea that doesn't suit their own agenda and work load. One very good example of this is the proposal for developing a pier at Hanging Rock to service cruise ships and large vessels. The two major contributors to the Gross Regional Product of the Eurobodalla Shire are tourism and the aged care and allied industries. Our largest industry being tourism has experienced steady decline in visitor spend and numbers for the past 8 years according to Tourism Research Australia data. Private and public tourism infrastructure has been identified by various studies as a solution to employment issues (RDA Skills Audit 2013), and increasing visitor spend (DNSW Eurobodalla LGA Assessment). The Batemans Bay Business and Tourism Chamber have presented at NSW Ports Strategy Workshop, Eurobodalla Shire Council and Regional Development Australia a vision for integrated infrastructure at the coastal interface. The interface enhancement is important in attaining a critical mass of infrastructure to warrant being a significant coastal destination. One central piece of infrastructure required at Batemans Bay in addition to a pier at Hanging Rock to service cruise ships and large vessels are floating pontoons to enable Recreational Boats, PWCs, Seaplane, mobility limited persons and possibly cruise ship tenders to access our town centre and seaside boardwalk. Such ideas require a visionary who can think outside of mediocrity and challenge the usual complacency dished out by bureaucracy that is generally indifferent to the notion of business and private sector growth as very few have any experience in the drive to survive.
David Maclachlan, President of the Batemans Bay Business and Tourism Chamber is one such visionary. David advised the Beagle that Batemans Bay represents the only Australian port capable of providing an acceptable visitation window to the Australian Capital Territory, which has 4 of the top 35 attractions in Australia.
David offered: "Both Sydney Cruise Terminal and Eden Port are unable to provide on shore excursions to Canberra, whereas Batemans Bay can. VisitACT has indicated that a cruise ship facility at Batemans Bay is supported by their Destination Management Plan".
"A low visual impact and low environmental impact pier in an area predominately dredged would facilitate cruise ship and large vessel visitation.
"Council's Deep Water Marina proposal and feasibility terms of reference now include this proposal. These preliminary studies which were contracted out by Council have now been completed. This however is where it draws to a grinding halt. Council now need to move ahead with the proposal and have it shovel ready for State and Federal funding. "The proposed pier represents a low environmental impact, aesthetically integrated and relatively inexpensive opportunity to create a “game changing” industry for the region including the Australian Capital Territory.
"The pier would extend approximately 800m from the current Hanging Rock rockwall. The sea floor would require a dredged 275m turning circle (in a currently dredged area) with a further 800m by 200m wide dredged channel in a moving sand/mud sea floor.
"Almost all cruise ships plying the Australia coast are less than 80,000 tonne and no more than 270m (P&Os largest ship is 77,000tonne and 260m in length. The World Cruise Ship which recently visited Batemans Bay is 197m in length, 45,000 tonne with a draft of 6.7M). Generally, these ships (without azipods) require a turning circle of no more than 275m with 10m of depth, and a 150m wide channel with 15m of depth for entry.
"The parking and undeveloped areas of Hanging Rock in the immediate vicinity of the proposed pier offers ideal ground transport options, pedestrian options and the possibility of a multi-use sports building which could facilitate day time passenger operations.
"While studies have not been conducted, the current dredging operations and effected mud and sand sea floor offer initial evidence that further impact would be minimal, as opposed to a continuation of the Hanging Rock rockwall or impact of a deep water marina.
"The hydrological effect of a pier as considered in general by engineers is minimal when compared to a rockwall and deep water marina excavations.
"Dredging for a cruise ship turning circle and channel would be deeper than current dredging, though the effected sea floor occupies a similar area to current dredging and channel effects".
Neither Sydney Cruise Terminal nor Eden Port terminals can provide economically viable onshore visitation to Canberra due to time/distance and transportation factors. David Maclachlan The location of Batemans Bay provides complementary itineraries for cruise ships either coming or going to Sydney, Auckland, Milford Sound, Eden, Melbourne or Hobart.
Further studies are required. Cruise Ship companies and shore based companies are interested in access to Canberra. The parking and undeveloped area of Hanging Rock in the immediate vicinity of the proposed pier offers ideal undeveloped space for ground transport options, pedestrian options and the possibility of a multi-use sport or other buildings which could facilitate day time passenger operations.