The Beagle Editor,
The Sydney Hobart yacht race has just gone past, and the boats couldn’t come into Batemans Bay because the bar hasn’t been dredged.
After the last dredging works, the local community were all told that the channel would be kept open at 1.3-1.5metres at a minimum….it is now around 70cms deep.
Four boats were retired from Sydney to Hobart at least two with damage, they were towed into Ulladulla and rafted up against trawlers as they can’t get in at Batemans Bay, where all the services they need are available.
We offered every boat a free night at the marina on their homeward journey, but most won’t be able to take this up.
Water police touched the bottom as they came in after their Race escort and the tow jobs. They don’t even have big keels.
Maritime struggles, MAC (Eden and Port Kembla) struggle, Marine Rescue struggles, as does Fisheries capacity to get in/out to maintain and police the Batemans Marine Park.
And of course the town misses out – without the opportunity for business and tourism revenue.
To top it all off, the Govt released a grand new NSW Maritime Infrastructure Plan just days before the race started, which says, like other reports before it, that maintaining the channel at Batemans Bay is a high priority. But it didn’t commit any funds or say when or how it was going to happen.
The dredging of a channel to allow boats to enter a harbour is just as important as road and bridge maintenance.
We need to get some action quickly, getting the long promised work underway shouldn’t be this hard.
With Thanks Daimon Martin | General Manager Batemans Bay and Port Macquarie Marinas