In an opinion piece on the Batemans Bay Boaters Association's page their spokesperson Harry Watson Smith said "The local Member for Bega and Minister of Transport announced last week the closing down of the Bay Bridge Foreshore Advisory Committee (FAC) holding a large photo of the proposed concrete T-Wharf and pontoons. This was a great disappointment for many of the community members of FAC. We have seen better alternatives at a FAC meetings earlier in the year." This is a start and has some advantages but does not go far enough to improve the water land interface. The advantages are that the T-wharf pontoons put that area of the CBD front and center in the public's mind about the impact the new bridge will have on the Bay Foreshore. Mr Watson Smith said "John Holland and others proposes we maintain a 40 year old concrete wharf with no facilities and dangerous piers and append to each side some ill-designed floating pontoons with steel or concrete piles on the outside. A cruise ship tender will not fit between the piles so the gap between vessel and pontoon is too wide for anyone to step off. Yes, mind the gap."
"The on-ramps dominate the pontoons just waiting for some child to crawl under and be trapped as the pontoon moves up with the tide or passing ferry. The BBBA state "The Ministers statement includes “The existing T-wharf will be retained for those who currently require the fixed structure including local businesses and fishing groups.” Mr Watson Smith asks "Who are these local business and which fishing groups? The dive boat operator who has a mooring adjacent to the T-Wharf has been given his matching orders with no opportunity to return. So lets get these vested interest identified and ask why do they and not the FAC have such influence.
"If you go to the interactive map (who paid for that extravagance?) Clyde Street will become a dead-end – yes a Cul-de-Sac. There are no on or off access roads from the new bridge like there are now. To get to the current boatramp you have to travel down North Street turn left under the new bridge – and then what? Turn into the reduced parking area and try to turn to back your trailer down the boat ramp. It is possible but exceptionally difficult. Gone is the turning road, preparation area and wash down section. Yes we have gone backwards.
Above: What about moving the Boatshed to commercially competitive premises rather than having them take unfair advantage on land rental and build a new Visitors Centre (keep the toilets) with a display of local produce, toilets and other facilities. Not a new idea proposed more than 10 years ago but stopped in its tracks...... Why? and by Who? This info kiosk is not new, it came from the Labor Lands Minister Tony Kelly who had let a contract to replace the Boatshed which is on a Crown lease. Why not redesign those two structures to a more modern building fulfilling the communities need, art, information, tours, tickets, toilets and a nucleus for pop events. "What will happen to an interstate bus wanting to access the foreshore? Turn left into Clyde Street, negotiate a calming mini roundabout and proceeded to the dead end to attempt to turn and exit back past the CBD. Where will these buses park and take on passengers? We don't know because the traffic flow analysis has not been released" asks the BBBA association spokesperson.
"The statement on Friday by the Minister flanked by those with direct interest in the foreshore was a big step backwards for the fishing and boating community. The local businesses, particularly those with access from Clyde Street, will have to be asking questions. Why is this major development in the Bay so ordinary and lacks vision and initiative? "How will this improve the tourist economy of the Bay? What signature location will get them to stop and not continue southwards? Mr Watson Smith said "The FAC put forward many ideas – a viewing platform at the apex of the new bridge, lift towers for improved disability access to the bridge, moving the southern boatramp from under the shadow of the bridge to the west of Lions Park to name a few just on the south side.
AUDIO: Harry Watson Smith of the Batemans Bay Boaters Assoctalking about the Batemans Bay foreshore June 17th 2019
"This announcement by the Minister and Member for Bega, while welcome, will now give the community the opportunity to comment and show their concerns about how ordinary and lacking in vision the proposed foreshore is going to become. This is a missed opportunity to revitalize the CBD, make it a hub for tourists to want to come too. How about opening a tourist information Kiosk, a local produce display centre, a starting point for oyster information tours or sail the bay or whale watching expeditions?
"That will not happen from this proposed wharf and pontoon. Lets extend the pontoons down stream for 200 m to the Promenade with a break in the middle for kayaks, canoes and smaller vessel to come inside. Make the pontoons wide so people can fish from them and add lights water and other facilities to attract yachts and passing vessels.
"The Association submitted a comprehensive document “A Game Changer for the Bay CBD” to the Minister last week highlighting how adding the extended pontoons correctly designed could activate and rejuvenate this area of the CBD. We wait his response. The Shire and community will get the opportunity to comment on the Association’s proposal.
Above, by comparison the foreshore vision of the Clyde River is left wanting as can be seen in this artist impression of Ballina NSW new foreshore proposal Game Changer for the Bay (read the full document HERE) Installing floating pontoons at the foreshore beside Clyde Street CBD A Community Proposal Why? To activate the foreshore in this area Because Clyde Street will become a deadend Because the new bridge will bring focus to the area ● The concrete T-Wharf is to be upgraded as part of the bridge project ● The old bridge abutment is to be used as a viewing platform ● Purpose designed paths, vegetation, trees and seats adjacent to foreshore What is the proposal? 220 metres of floating pontoons extending east (down river) from a modified T-Wharf In two locations parallel to the rock-wall Two on-ramps – T-wharf and at the Promenade. Seaplane pontoon purpose designed 4 meters wide and 500mm above water Break in middle so boats can come inside Piles, fender and cleats to secure vessels Canoe and kayak friendly, disability davit Features of Pontoons Access to and from water at all stages of tide Large and small vessels can dock with ease Kayaks and canoes can launch Sea plane can tie up against its pontoon Cruise ship tenders can use at any stage of tide Fishing and walking platform Justification Strongly supported by Shire in Bridge submission and at FAC Will activate this area of the CBD through increased movement and interest Improve the land water interface – better near water experience Provide quality landing facilities for international cruise ship passengers Provide facilities for coastal cruising vessels – sail & fishing Locals can come ashore for shops & toilets Justification Mentioned in many marketing, tourist development strategies and action plans Not a new idea – previous actions & submissions Increase capacity from limited JH proposal An activity hub in the CBD and its foreshore What will it provide? A clear focus to the area Fishing platform Provide a near water experience to public Be a nucleus for water based expeditions ● Ferry up Clyde ● Oyster information tours ● Sail the Bay ● Fishing, whale and bird watching tours ● Kayak and canoe hire offerings ● Disability access to the water What is the process? Get wider local support – business & public Get Dept of Lands on board Get Dept Transport – Maritime support and commitment to find funding Get Batemans Marine Park support & approval Get Shire Council & Counsellors endorsement Form the Estuary & Bay Consultative Group The Next Step Answer questions and objections Wide media coverage for public support Develop Business actions plans to seize opportunities Develop marketing and communication plans along with bridge opening Start influencing the decision makers Get the funds locked in Start to think with a big picture focus