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Innes says "Boat ramp must stay" but adds "at this stage"

The weight of the Batemans Bay Boaters Association, Recreational Fishing Alliance, Eurobodalla Fishing Association and a strong representative of the Clyde River oyster growers has seen the Eurobodalla Mayor indicate support fo the retention of the Clyde Street West boatramp. The ramp has been removed in the Draft Councils Batemans Bay Waterfront Master Plan & Activation Strategy currently out for comment. This has come as both a surprise and a major concern to the groups mentioned above as the draft document, prepared by a Tasmanian consultant has removed both the current fully functioning industry and public facility with no consultation undertaken with users. Liz Innes, the current Mayor of Eurobodalla, posted a comment on Facebook regarding the Eurobodalla’s proposal to close the Clyde Street Boat ramp saying:

Max Castle of the Recreational Fishing Alliance told The Beagle "the last plan of the proposed Batman's Bay Foreshore design, released by Council, not only had a boat ramp missing in the south side of the river but also a fishing platform". "These were supported by the initial Community Consultation Group formed to work in conjunction with bridge contractor John Holland. "Councils current plan on exhibition does not show a Fishing Platform? Why? Did it sink? "Yesterday I watched 16 children fishing of the wharf which provides some idea of how popular fishing is particularly for our future generation. While fishing, their parents were having coffee and shopping. This is exactly what the Clyde River Foreshore Committee wanted - fun for family and support for local business. Only parents instructions "don't fall in" "So the question is why was the Fishing Platform excluded. The same question applies to the South West boat ramp adjacent to Lions Park. Submissions close 28th July. Making a comment to the Mayor's response Harry Watson Smith of the Batemans Bay Boating Association asked "of the many responses on social media was Liz Innes' response "A fight we really don't need to have". My question to the Mayor is "who started this? Your Council and the bureaucrats in Council who have refused to listen to the active users representatives. We tried in the Batemans Bay Bridge Foreshore Advisory Committee and despite your and others secret deals we got RMS to state that the Clyde St Boat Ramp would stay open. Counci's own submissions stated that it should be kept open." "Your current back flip is extraordinary but here again you qualify it by saying .."no need to remove it at this stage" Why at this stage? It should never be closed ever, ever full stop." This week saw Councillor Anthony Mayne attend the boatramp to see first hand the importance the ramp has on the local oyster industry and to chatting with Max Castle and Harry Watson Smith to learn first hand of the concerns of boat ramp users. Coming away from the meeting the councillor posted "Submissions close soon. In the meantime, and following our chat, I will pop a Question on Notice at our next Eurobodalla Shire Council meeting to clarify a few key points." Witnessing first hand the degree of difficulty boaters have in launch and retreival and hearing first hand of the negatives around the poorly presented boatramp learning that it been allowed by Council to become sub standard the councilor said:

"Personally I would like to see this boat ramp not only remain but be enhanced. Though lets see what additional information the Question on Notice will provide. One thing is clear though, we need more dialogue on this issue with our community."

Above: Councillor Anthony Mayne met with local fishers and users of the boatramp last Friday to see first hand the ramp that Council now proposes to remove as is evidenced by their draft Foreshore plan now on exhibition for public submissions. As the Eurobodalla Council moves towards permanently closing the Clyde Street boatramp the NSW Boat Owners Association is now joining with Recreational Fishing Alliance of NSW and many others to oppose Eurobodalla Shire Council's surprise plan to fill in the popular Lions Park boat ramp at the Batemans Bay bridge and replace it with a toilet.

"It appears to be recognised by everyone except the Council that the Boat ramp services a $5m oyster industry and is a primary access to the water by hundreds of water craft every year" offered one of the local oyster farmers on Friday when asked if he had been consulted. Comments are coming with all quarters in protest saying "Rather than spending any of the State funds available for boating infrastructure on a pontoon, a covered fish cleaning table, improved lighting and improved launch conditions the Council have instead decided to remove the ramp. Community consultation has been less than satisfactory and the key user groups have not been consulted. Instead, those user groups, are now invited to make a submission to tell Council why the boatramp needs to remain."

The BOA and RFA say the boating public deserves better and "we must STAND UP to defend OUR facilities and OUR access to the water!"

They encourage boaters and their members to "Go to the council's website, follow the links in the "Have Your Say" section, and tell them to FLUSH THEIR STINKING PLAN!" Closing date for submissions: Tuesday 28 July 2020, 4.30pm More info HERE

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