In what was to be a terrific outcome for the recreational fishers who use the Malua Bay boat ramp the exasperation of a needlessly botched job by Council has left them with a distrust of Council and a further souring in the relationship between the recreational fishers of the South Coast and a Council that seems indifferent to the group. The Malua Bay Fishing Club successfully gained a Better Boating grant to build a stand alone, solar powered light at the local boatramp. With a host of volunteer trades able to install the light it was to be an easy job... until Council insisted that it take over the project ... in August 2018. Four months later and there was no action. The money was secured, all that was required was a slab, some bolts and the pole and lights installed. The location had been described in the grant application and had been agreed to. So what went wrong? Council staff advised fishers that they wanted to also put lighting in the carpark area and that solar lighting was a good solution as they would otherwise have needed to bring electricity from the otherside of George Bass Drive. It now appears that by moving the Fishing Club's purposely requested light away from where it was intended and closer to the carpark Council has assumed it can use somebody else's grant-awarded purposely intended ramp/fishing table light to provide a solution for its own carpark. "The job is a typical Council cockup" said one of the local fishers at the ramp. "That salb is an embarrasment to anyone who has been at a building and had Council building inspectors knocking back work ten times better than that finish" "They said they were going to line mark Hanging Rock carpark before Christmas which needs doing because it is mad there in summer. Nup... didn't do that either".
Above: "yep, agreed, you expect it to be up before Christmas down by the fishing table to light up the table and to also light up the bend in the ramp...." Is this poor communication? or just pig headiness on the part of Council to ignore its community?
Above is a picture of the concrete footing to be used for the light that is in the wrong location. This location was not agreed upon and if you look at the finish it is a course finish rather than trowelled and such a finish is NOT as per the standards for any installation that will be in such an exposed location adjacent to the sea as it will only accelerate corrosion.
Adam Martin, president of the Euro Fishing Association and a South Coast Recreational Fishing representative visited the site and was more than disappointed in what he found.
Above: Fishers are becoming exasperated with Council with moves to take it to State Ministers as relationships turn from frustration to exasperation.
Adam told the Beagle "The recent laying of the concrete footing for the proposed solar powered light at Mosquito Bay boat ramp displays the unwillingness of top management within the Eurobodalla shire council to meet the needs of the recreational fishing and boating community in the shire."
"A recent onsite meeting with local recreational fishers/boaters including MBFC President Andrew Turner meet with ESC infrastructure staff to come to an agreement of where the light is most beneficial for the public's safety."
"Andrew Turner's original submission which had the complete support of the entire recreational fishing community proposed the absolute necessity of having the solar powered light installed between the fish cleaning table and the dog leg bend of the ramp."
"A back to back double light that would shine on both the bottom end of the ramp and cleaning table ensured an appropriate amount of light where the critical public movement would be."
"Light casting down on the bend of the ramp allowing drivers to safely navigate reversing their boat trailers down the ramp and safely traverse the ramp around the bend. Also, having the light installed in the original proposed position provides more safety when launching and retrieving one's boat with ample light shining on the work area and not slipping on the ramp."
"Light shining on the other side of the proposed location also provides sufficient light to be cast down on the cleaning table which allows safer hand movements cleaning fish with sharp knifes of an evening or night time."
"One only has to look at other examples of practical lighting to see our point. Headlights on the front of cars are there to shine light on the road ahead and provide a safer route. What would be the point of a headlight shining from the back seat of a car?"
"Another classic example is lighting shining on a work area where fine human motor skills are at play. Such as a kitchen work bench. Lighting an area where food preparation is conducted correct lighting is essential."
"However, ESC management has decided to overrule the onsite agreement and install the light at the top of the ramp. This will no doubt hinder than help due to the lights position will cast numerous shadows when human interaction is present."
"Several qualified tradesmen have also noticed the recently poured foundation is of poor workmanship and does not meet the Australian Standards."
"Most recreational fishing representative agree this is very poor form and only cements our beliefs that in this section of management recreational fishers and boaters are viewed as second class citizens."
"I ask all recreational fishing and boating representatives to think of the bigger picture and not to become overly tribal, only worrying about your tiny if not insignificant patch in the greater scheme of things which only reinforces the obvious divide and conquer techniques employed."
"With all groups coming together as a united collective numbering in the thousands we will be heard.
"My final thought looks to other areas of NSW and can see a few other coastal councils actually striving ahead in leaps and bounds working with their recreational fishing community to develop state of the art boating facilities.
"Bateman Bay/Eurobodalla is the gateway to the far south coast with hundreds of thousands of boaters coming from the ACT and Sydney to use our waterways only to be disappointed by the substandard boating facilities." said Adam.
"That old saying " build it and they will come". If we want to see a healthy growth of boating and fishing tourism in the Eurobodalla then the facilities need to be of a high caliber which in turn encourages boating tourism."
"With the building movement for recreational boating infrastructure management to be removed from local governments and handed to one state authority is an unfortunate thing.
"Like many changes in policy in our society they are often brought about because of a few not doing the right thing and the community has to suffer.
"Why should other local governments and their communities have to suffer that are being proactive in boating infrastructure and genuinely engaging the recreational community?"