Faceless token, community-consultation, box-ticking, Batemans Bay Foreshore Advisory Committee is fi
The Beagle Editor, For the interest of your readers. Faceless Batemans Bay Foreshore Advisory Committee is Finished Yes, the last meeting of tick-the-box committee meeting was held on 1 May. The Mayor and General Manager along with a number of other obviously pre-informed members did not attend this compete waste of time event. - the snacks were good by no biscuits. As usual the attendees were talked at with no room for discussion however on this occasion we were given a sheet of paper to record our outstanding questions? Why you may ask? Well because some 4 weeks later after having done so we had not had a single reply. Not a single response to some simple and some more difficult questions such as: What boat washdown areas are there at the reopened boat ramps? Are there fish cleaning tables and do they have a roof? Do the boatramps meet the boatramp Guidelines/Standards? Are there going to be life rings along the foreshore? Will there be securing points at the boatramps with no floating pontoons? (pontoons - none) What type of boatramp lighting will there be and where is it located? What safety and information signs are there?
All foreshore type questions not shown on the presentation given to the committee.
When it came to the T-wharf there was a big surprise. At the previous Foreshore Advisory Committee (FAC ) meeting we were presented with a plan/proposal to demolish part of the T-wharf as per the John Holland contract and to replace it with suitable floating pontoons. While we did not totally support the design it was a great start and what the Committee members had been waiting for and the Community had expected.
Well now the surprise. The T-wharf is to be maintained in the same format. - no change. Old piles on the waterside unusable to any one except a large ferry style vessel. But there is more. Two 30 m long floating pontoons attached to the T-wharf with securing piles on the outside. Yes on the outside of the pontoon so your vessel can come alongside and damage the hull as you secure it. That will limit the available space to one average cruising yacht and maybe a small runabout. The outer ends are unusable for the same reason and so is the shoreside.
But there is more. The movable connecting ramp to get from the T-wharf to the floating pontoons is so long it appears to be 28 m. You may ask why?: to meet the wheel chair requirements of slope gradient. No problem to accommodate accessibility but the proposed on-ramp takes up an estimate 78% of the available space of the pontoon. That leaves two narrow lanes on the shore and seaward side and then with the balance covered by the moving ramp.
Above: an example access ramp
Now think of that when you try to cast a line with your rod. It will get snagged by the ramp handrails. Not to mention the danger of some child crawling under the ramp and a large wash from the ferry coming by lifting the pontoon and squashing or trapping the child between pontoon and on-ramp.
Now you may ask how we came to this ridiculous situation of maintaining the existing T-wharf when it was clearly stated in all communications that it would be removed and replaced. This replacement was the off-set that the boating public reluctantly accepted when RMS lowering the current bridge level to only 12 meter above the water. So the boating public has been ignored and tricked again. Did I answer the question as to how this came about NO. I will leave that to you to deduce but I can state that the Shire has played a significant role in directing this outcome.
Returning to the FAC itself and the members contributions.
What did the active members achieve in advising the RMS/John Holland project – NOTHING. Yes not a single idea that was put forward appears to have been accepted or incorporated into the foreshore or bridge project. I do think we got separate male and female toilet cubicles and a special section for those with a disability and maybe we may even get a smart litter bin – thanks Director Sharpe.
Now did the FAC fulfill the Community consultation role? Well, no-way because you the community did not know who gave their time to attend these meetings. Not one photo, not one joint gathering with the community and there is still the seal of secrecy and confidentiality over what we saw, so I am not able to tell you more about the traffic flows, parking spaces and design features of the project. When will the community “be informed”? .... hopefully soon because the rate of spend on this project must be massive and your money is going into salaries, holes in the ground, concrete and steel at an alarming rate.
Batemans Bay Boaters Association