Is the promised Clyde Foreshore boatramp now in jeopardy of being removed

Members of the boating community attending the Information booth held by Council over the weekend along the Clyde Foreshore were surprised to discover that their boatramp on the South Western side of the bridge is now proposed to be replaced with a youth area. Viewing the Batemans Bay Waterfront Master Plan and Activation Strategy visitors to the Francis Guy building discovered that the existing boatramp that was scheduled to be refurbished with additional trailer spaces and improved facilities is now under threat of being replaced by an area described as : 4. Youth central - Hard surfaced space under the new bridge with multiple play opportunities: skating, basketball, table tennis, etc. in a colourful setting by the sea. Potential future market space, interpretation point, art, seating and social space.

Above: It appears that the fate of the promised boatramp is in the hands of a popular vote between a youth hangout and the boatramp.

The inclusion of the newly proposed Youth Central has come as a surprised to members of the Batemans Bay Boating Association, the Eurobodalla Fishing Association and the Recreational Fishers Alliance along with members of the Batemans Bay Foreshore Advisory Committee. The boatramp has received considerable discussion during the secret meetings conducted by the Batemans Bay Foreshore Committee who insisted that the boatramp remain. While it was agreed by the committee that the removal of an off ramp from the highway now compromised access to the ramp it was agreed that the town needed a functioning central boatramp. The south western boatramp was clearly agreed to as remaining and being refurbished as part of the Batemans Bay bridge rebuild, though access was to be redirected requiring cars with boat trailers to navigate North Street and Clyde Street before passing under the new bridge. It was accepted that this was the cost of losing the highway off ramp.

Above: The current concept plans show speed bumps along the length of Clyde Street that will be more than annoying to cars with trailers, cars with boats and to those with caravans not to mention the semi trailers that will traverse the street as they exit from the Woolworths loading dock. It is now clear that there are moves afoot to remove the boatramp and to see the Clyde Foreshore used for land based endeavours alone. Though there are murmurings of floating pontoons being considered as an offset to the boatramp removal they will be of little use to vessels if they can not launch. There is regional funding available for regional facilities however Eurobodalla Council has failed to secure any from the last rounds. The funding comes from boat registration and licence fees. By removing the boatramp this also removes the opportunity for Council to seek funding for the improvement of this facility. Adjacent at Punt Road that boatramp is identified as the worst example in the state of a boatramp that is ill placed and ill maintained to ensure serviceability. The Batemans Bay Waterfront Master Plan and Activation Strategy comes as a surprise to members of the Batemans Bay Foreshore Committee who worked long and hard to put to bed what they believed was an outcome that gave a community perspective to what might be provided in the area of the new bridge. The Foreshore Committee was told in no-uncertain terms that their brief was to cover only the areas of the bridge and not to extend beyond to the T-Wharf or the Boatshed. They were also limited to focus on the northern shore from Punt Road to Korners Park. Never the less one member, Max Castle, brought to the table an overview of what he considered, in consultation with members of the community, ideas of what might be applied to the foreshore. The Committee convener along with Council representatives did not accept his proposal for consideration.

Above: you can read the 50 page submission by Max Castle HERE. This submission to the Batemans Bay Foreshore Committee was not accepted for consideration The Batemans Bay Foreshore Committee folded after months of volunteer effort that resulted in frustration at not being valued, the stipulation of secrecy and closed meetings and the resultant disharmony between members and the ever present Council Executive who played more than the required role of observers offering occasional guidance to policies that might affect ideas presented. Now we have a Tasmanian consultant given the task to revisit the work of the Batemans Bay Foreshore Committee that has rendered their efforts all but useless as the boating community now see the potential loss of their facility that has been in place since 1956. It is understood that the consultant was not briefed on the commitment that was made to retaining the boatramp as part of the Batemans Bay Bridge rebuild project. Nor were they told of the plethora of difficulties that boaters have to accessing the Clyde River that currently offers only Hanging Rock and Nelligen as the access points. With the potential of Council to put the option of a Youth Centre up against the Boatramp in as part of a community engagement survey that will see the one with most votes win it is critical that the community be informed. Especially the boating community. Eurobodalla comprises more that 30% non-resident ratepayers. They MUST be included in any survey and also kept included and informed. Boating is recognised in the Eurobodalla as a primary activity for residents, non-resident ratepayers and visitors. Any decision to remove this essential facility must come with a suitable replacement. Punt Road is NOT a suitable site as it is overcome by sanding up due to its location.

Above: The proposed Punt Road boatramp may well prove a good launch location for kayaks due to its constant sanding up rendering it all but useless for launching and retrieval of boats. In a response to the apparent intention to place the South Western Boatramp in competition with a "Youth Space" the Batemans Bay Boaters Association have prepared a petition that attracted 150 signatures in just a few hours from those who attended last weekend's Clyde Foreshore re-invigoration information event. The following petition is being circulated to members of the many fishing clubs in the South East, fishing stores, garages where bait is sold and by email to out of town fishers who often attend south coast fishing competitions. Save Batemans Bay Boat Ramps PETITION: To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales. The Petition comprises the names of concerned residents, boaters and fishers of the Shire of Eurobodalla and particularly the greater Batemans Bay area. We bring to the attention of the House that the construction of the new Batemans Bay bridge over the Clyde River has had a significant impact on the maritime infrastructure facilities adjacent to it. Namely the northern boatramp (Old Punt Road) is closed for the duration of the construction. The adjacent temporary boat ramp was washed away and has not opened. On the southern shore of the Clyde River, the Lions Park boat ramp has been overcrowded by the bridge construction equipment both on land and on the water. We understand there is a move to permanently close this ramp. The undersigned petitioners ask the Legislative Assembly to urgently provide their support for the restoration of the two permanent boat ramps (North and South shores) and for them to meet the standards set out in the NSW Boat Ramp Facility Guidelines. The concrete T-wharf (west of the bridge) be removed and the installation of floating pontoons 200 meter along the CBD foreshore. You can download and print the Batemans Bay Boaters Association petition for signature HERE For details of how to return the petition visit the Batemans Bay Boaters Association Facebook page

Above: Harry Watson Smith (right) offering information to a foreshore visitor last weekend. Harry spoke with hundreds outlining the Batemans Bay Boaters Association 'Game Changer' overview for the Batemans Bay foreshore before suggesting their endorsement of a petition that will see the boatramps retained and improved.