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Council revealed as being complacent - $millions of dollars in grants are going elsewhere

The Batemans Bay Boaters Association are asking...

Why oh why did Batemans Bay get it so wrong?

The Eden Breakwater Wharf Extension has reached another milestone.

The stage one dredging of the Eden wharf has been completed and the project moves on to the next stage of sinking the piles to form the new wharf. This will permit cruise ships to berth along side and form the basis for an expanded marina for small vessels.

The Batemans Bay Boaters Association comments on their social media page that the local member Andrew Constance has worked hard over many years to see that this and other water based developments have taken place in the Bega valley.

The project with a value of $44 mil is just one of many funded by the Government and with a small contribution from the local Bega Valley Shire Council. The level of local Aboriginal participation in the project is way above the requirements for this type of project and is seen as an encouraging aspect.

This is an example of a significant economic driver to the area where a marine project is done correctly and under the direct control of the NSW government and not private developers or the council.

Wait for the additional announcement in Bermagui Harbour area.

Meanwhile in Eurobodalla it has now been revealed that Eurobodalla Council have been sitting on their hands when it comes to seeking out marine grants with the statement that these grants don't come with ongoing maintenance money and will not be pursued because of that. Local resident and fisher Max Castle has recently presented a full report to the Mayor and General Manager of Council showing that Council has been remiss for many years in seeking out recreational infrastructure grants and as such the overall report by RMS of the marine infrastructure indicates a "could do better". - There a relatively limited number of waterway access points. - Many locations would benefit from an upgrade. 60% of an online survey thought the access facilities were acceptable with 35% dissatisfied. - Infrastructure in some locations does not meet demand in peak periods and has insufficient trailer parking. Max has also advised Council that they have not identified any new recreational infrastructure actions in its Recreational Open Space Strategy yet recreational fishing brings in $320 million per year to the South East NSW economy. An example: A new Tuross Head Boatramp: Council received a State grant to do a study, to establish options, to engage consultant, to seek submissions and engage with the public and then finalise a report with a recommendation. And then choose to ignore the recommendation and fail to advise the community that there is no plan, no budget and that they will continue to watch.

At a recent meeting the THPA President Gary Cooper advised the Mayor and senior staff that complaints had been received from Tuross Head business community members regarding the lack of boats visiting Tuross over the Christmas period. Some boats were leaving to other locations because of unsuitable launching facilities. Mayor Liz Innes advised she was willing to revisit Council's priorities and was concerned there were unhappy boater/fishers. One THPA member (Andrew Gordon) was of the understanding grant funding was available, however Warren Sharpe advised that this avenue of funding did not provide for maritime projects. With the ongoing difficulties in being able to launch even a tinny at low tide in Tuross Lake and the impact that this had on their only industry, tourism, the Tuross Head community were surveyed in 2013 for a new option. The survey and subsequent plans and report were funded by the State Government. Of the Options prepared by a consultant the community chose Option B. A new boatramp to be built on a council owned reserve adjacent to the Tuross lake that would provide excellent parking and access. Option B. Development of an alternate boat ramp on community land adjacent to Hector McWilliam Drive and opposite Lake Street intersection

Council have now recently and informally (just off the cuff at a recent meeting) advised, following all the consultation they did, and in declaring the project would cost $2m (costings not provided), that THEY have now considered the project and "are not keen to proceed".

They claim, without any substantiation, in off the cuff comments that the site:

- has considerable environmental issues,

- is likely to be unacceptable to close residents,

- the cost will be very significant,

- there will be a need for considerable infrastructure including an access road, services, parking, toilets, boat ramp and jetty/pontoon.

- A Marine Parks permit would be needed and approval could be difficult, costly and time consuming.

The Tuross Head community only heard of this at their last Progress meeting and were considerably unimpressed to hear that council had made up ITS mind without telling the community and that council had done so without anything but a desktop investigation.

Meanwhile in Bega Shire they are getting on with the job.

#Opinion #Tuross #LeiParker

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