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Boating grants fail to impress boat users in the Eurobodalla

During a press call at Brierleys boat ramp today the Member for Bega announced that $2.48 million in NSW Government funding would be provided to support Bega Valley Shire Council and Eurobodalla Shire Council plans for six new boating infrastructure projects allocated under the NSW Government’s Round 3 of the Boating Now program which supports infrastructure projects to improve boating access, amenities and safety for NSW boaters. The program is funded from boating licence and registration fees which are reinvested back into initiatives that improve boating for local communities.

The round was established to allow local councils, boating and community groups, as well as private sector organisations, deliver new or upgraded boating infrastructure, including boat ramps, jetties, wharves, car and trailer parking, dinghy storage racks and sewage pump-outs.

The six projects will involve:

· Hanging Rock boat ramp $300,000 - Building a 30-metre long boat rigging bay, upgrading the boat wash-down area with improvements to the pavement and an additional tap, extending the southern pontoon and upgrading signage and lighting;

Image: It is understood that this pontoon will most likely be installed to service Marine Rescue and avail them a safer pontoon to access their vessels in a similar way to the locked and gated pontoon recently installed at Preddeys Wharf Moruya for the Marine Rescue vessel moored there. Photo: Marine Rescue Tuross

· Apex Park boat ramp at Narooma $58,000 - Replacing the existing pontoon with a new pontoon;

· Mossy Point boat ramp $60,000 - Installing line marking and lighting, upgrading signposting, improving the boat wash-down bay and the existing rock wall between the boat ramp and the jetty

· Brierleys boat ramp at Moruya ($700,000) on the Moruya River - Building a new pontoon, toilet facilities and lighting as well as upgrading car parking and installing a pollutant trap In Bega; · Rebuilding the existing three lane boat ramp, a pontoon extension and car park upgrade at Bermagui Harbour on the Bermagui River ($660,122) ;

· Building a new three lane boat ramp and upgrading the pontoon and access road at Pambula Lake boat ramp ($699,497) at Broadwater on Pambula Lake;

Max Castle of the Recreational Fishing Alliance told The Beagle “I welcome the projects but I am puzzled by the fact that there hasn’t been engagement regarding these improvements with the users".

"The new facility at Brierleys boat ramp is most surprising as it is very rarely used simply because it is very shallow and adjacent to nipper beds, and has long been in disrepair. While it is good to build a toilet block here and to upgrade the car parking this project will offer little in the way of improving boating access for normal fishing vessels serving only very shallow boats and kayaks. It feels more like a Public Reserve project than a boating project”.

“If a pontoon was to be provided under the Boating Now program, which supports infrastructure projects to improve boating access for NSW boaters, then a pontoon should have been considered across the river at Preddeys Wharf which is the regional boating facility in this area. Presently anyone with any physical incapacity launches at the Moruya Town wharf so that they can safely use the pontoon there. “

“I have to wonder who the Council and the Local Member have been talking to.”

“We welcome the money being spent in the region but the news comes as a surprise as we only met the Mayor and the Director of Infrastructure, Mr Warren Sharpe just last week and they made no mention of these facilities being advocated for. Meanwhile the many suggestions that have we have put forward remain ignored.” Harry Watson Smith of the Batemans Bay Boaters Association said of the announcements that, while the Association welcomed the funding the amount made available pales when compared to the road funding that was announced. He told The Beagle that he welcomes the maintenance elements hoping that this will be a turning point where Boating Now looks to investing in both new infrastructure while maintaining old such as the poorly maintained pontoon at Narooma that will now be replaced. "The car parking improvements at Mossy Point will be welcome by those who use this ramp but in all honesty this is not marine infrastructure improvements; nor is the rockwall works on Crown Land". "Most importantly from today's announcement is the incongruous revelation that Pambula River will receive a new three lane boat ramp while at the same time Eurobodalla Council proposes to close a popular and very well used town boatramp and offer a single lane sand ramp that is not fit for purpose as an alternate". "Once again we see Bega Shire actually providing new marine infrastructure while Eurobodalla dresses up carparking, line marking, improves taps and uses the funds to provide toilets that should be built with public reserve funds". "Just who is talking to who because no-one is talking with the boaters who provide the funds to Boating Now, funded from boating licence and registration fees".

Above: Member for Bega, Andrew Constance (left) and Director of Infrastructure at Eurobodalla Council, Warren Sharpe. The Boating Now projects announced for the Eurobodalla failed to impress users who say "we were not consulted at all ... just who do they talk to?"

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