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Council need to answer questions over Marina

Dear Beagle Editor

Batemans Bay Marina is probably not safe for the public and boat owners and is definitely non-compliant with safety regulations, standards and building requirement. The Deputy Secretary, NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment – Crown Lands, last week determined that 26 non-compliant issues have been accepted by them after a three year investigation. Twenty have been referred to the leaseholder for action to be completed within 21 days and five have been referred to the Eurobodalla Shire Council for considerations and action.

These non-compliance issues were highlighted by the Batemans Bay Boaters Association Inc after meeting with the then Minister for Lands at NSW Parliament House accompanied by the local Member, the Hon Andrew Constance. The Association’s report (9,000 words) was submitted in early 2017. It went missing for months with no action taken. After many representations and GIPA request, an independent probity investigation was undertaken by the Department. That was well after the completion of a Parliamentary inquiry in June 2007 and a probity audit report completed in March 2011 which found that the nominated developers would not meet the essential terms of their obligation for redevelopment.

A June 2018 a forensic probity investigation by Procure Consulting made many findings and initiated detailed internal and external engineering reports which were completed some months ago. Further representation by the Association and then the appointment of a new Minister and a new management structure led to some action. The new Deputy Secretary and the head of Governance progressed the matter swiftly and sent a detailed response to the Association plus a document to the leaseholders requesting a response to the 26 non-compliance issues.

The report, full of legal references, is detailed and revealing. Only 6 of the identified 32 matters were not supported or have been rectified over the past three years. The engineering report is more damming with 18 non-compliant issues of the 42 investigated. More detailed reports are soon to be made publicly available.

What are the issues contained in the Department - Crown Land’s communications, to which a response is required from the lease holders?

Fire Safety Equipment and certification - non-compliant.

Encroachment on Public Land outside the marina precinct.

Non-compliance during the initial stage of development with Environmental Protection Legislation.

Non-compliance with Maintenance provisions of lease covering industrial trade waste, electrical and industrial equipment and reporting.

Australian Standards AS 3962-2001/10 – show cause and evidence how the development meets this document in particular: floating pontoons, fire equipment, positive flotation, piles and construction materials particularly the fire prone wooden slats on the pontoons.

Number of car spaces don't meet Shire standards.

Electrical installations including supply capacity – non compliant.

The Dept of Land’s commissioned probity and engineering reports make interesting reading. Work Cover, the Fire Authority and boat owner’s insurance companies may take immediate action to cover themselves if they read the detail. The Eurobodalla Shire Council is an interested party in this and the development process of the marina, the granting of the DAs and the oversight of the approval process. A local Principal Certifying Authority (PCA) was used in place of the Councils staff (more on that later). The Association and others have brought to Council’s attention the assertions that this development and the processes have not adhered to the Standards, Guidelines and DA processes required to be followed in local developments. The PCA qualifications have been questioned.

The Association submitted a Council specific non-compliance report to Mayor Liz Innes and General Manager in late 2017. After a tense meeting with the GM and others, a series of back and forth communications took place. The tenor and tone of these communications were obfuscation with many questions left unanswered to this day but the Lands investigation notes the many points raised.

The current Dept of Land’s letter to the Council asks “to consider and advise” on the non-compliance issue within the ambit of Council. Maybe the current spotlight and microscopic examination by the Department and the intervention of an independently staffed Governance Authority, will result in a safer and more compliant marina environment. The Association has offered to work with Council to achieve this end.

What next? This is only the second step of a six step process to ensure the marina is a safe and happy place for the public and boat owners to enjoy. While it must be stated that there have been some significant improvements from the time the Department and the Co-op managed the marina it is well below the standards of the next nearest Bermagui Harbour Marina and surrounds, plus it is the most expensive marina on the NSW coast – like for like.

What can you as a resident of the Bay do? Wait days for a response from the leaseholders then look to the future when a safe, secure and compliant marina can take its place on the foreshore of the Bay, to form a nucleus for water based activities on the Clyde River.

Here are the facts:

Number of berths

1983 there were 133

1997 they were reduced to 126

2003 local member promised 300 in 8 years

2016 October there were 106

2017 the Lease required 130

2019 Dept of Land found 125 berths

Dry berth storage

1997 very limited

Original Lease requires between 30 – 50

2013 Variation requires 30 plus

2019 Dept of Land found less than 16

Parking

NSW requirement for 130 vessels are for 86 car spaces plus more for Restaurant

Council DA stipulated 102

2019 Dept of Land found 74 non-compliant spaces

Amenities Facilities

No real improvement to amenities facilities

2019 Dept of Land found only male and female, no disabled toilets facilities

2019 Dept of Land found unsafe laundry

No BBQ or seating facilities in marina

No lock-up storage for sails and equipment

Hard-stand – maintenance facilities

2019 Dept of Land found slipway can only be used by vessels less than 12 meter with less than 1.9 m draft

Workcover has recently issued non-compliance notices

Vessels have fallen over, come off cradle and dropped back in water

2019 Dept of Land found hazard material storage non-compliant

Industrial waste water is pumped into Shire sewage system in contravention to standards and recording

Electrical and Water Installations

2019 Dept of Land found them to be non-compliant

Public Boatramp and Wharf

1990 Wharf and public boatramp shown in Land’s maps

DA showed public boatramp

2019 Dept of Land found neither available to public Batemans Bay Boaters Association Inc Oct 30th 2019


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