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Spotlight on Brierleys Boat Ramp Upgrade

The Beagle Editor, Brierleys Boat Ramp Upgrade – delayed yet again

Council received $700,000 from the Boating Now fund for the upgrade to the Moruya River boat ramp located at Brierleys which is adjacent to the airport. This was announced in July 2020 with much fanfare and the obligatory photo opportunity by the then local member and Minister for Transport, the manager of Maritime, - the collector of boat licences from which this grant was extracted.

Those present were the Director Eurobodalla Shire Warren Sharp, the ex-Mayor, the Maritime contingent and Andrew Constance the current candidate for Gilmore (he resign this portfolio, and as local member last year). The announcement indicated that the upgrade was imminent.

In October 2021 – last year, the attached plan below was discussed with the Boaters Association to get local knowledge input on the design. Time was spent making major adjustments to the proposed layout and questioning the lack of a floating pontoon and wastewater pollutant trap. The chief Shire engineer assured the Association adjustments would be made and further discussion would take place prior to construction early in the new year – 2022.

The Association was not happy that Boating Now funds have been reallocated from boating infrastructure to tourist facilities which should be provided by the Shire under their responsibility as managers of this area. The $700,000 is now being spent on upgrading the only public toilet facility in the area, installing a picnic shelter, a historic information sign, relocating and installing a rubbish bin and landscaping with paths and resurfacing the car park.

What do the fishers and boaters get from our money – an upgraded fishing table and maybe a jetty. Total cost maybe $80,000.

The Association wrote to Mr Andrew Constance while he was still the local Member who flicked the letter to the interim Maritime Minister who passed it on to the new Minister who delegated the response to the Local Principle Manager Maritime Infrastructure who stated: that they will ensure that “project are delivered in according with the grant conditions…” and that the pollutant trap and pontoons are still part of the project.

Members and friends of the Association have undertaken further investigation and looked at what can be included in boat ramp facilities and amenities under this grant. It appears that Picnic Shelters and barbeque facilities are clearly not funded from Boating Now funds and the other enhancements proposed at Brierleys are questionable.

The Association is continuing the communication with Maritime but nothing has been heard from the Shire. Is this yet another promise to use our money yet there is no delivery?

Should your licence fees via Boating Now grants be used for tourist facilities which the Shire should be providing? Harry Watson Smith Batemans Bay Boaters Association Editors Note: The toilet at Brierleys has been sub-optimal for decades and long due for improvement given that it is a drop pit of old design. To build such a toilet today would not pass muster. The Brierleys Reserve is no traversed overland by a 150mm pipe intended to suck fresh seawater in to the oyster hatchery and to then discharge waste water back to the same point. FACT CHECKING of the above: "It appears that Picnic Shelters and barbeque facilities are clearly not funded from Boating Now funds and the other enhancements proposed at Brierleys are questionable". Mr Watson Smith is his concerns regarding Boating Now funds being spent on BBQs, historic signs and picnic shelters however the guidelines appear to cover toilets, paths and car parking. Types of projects eligible for Round 4 grant funding will support boating infrastructure and amenity improvements throughout NSW but with an ongoing emphasis on projects that address the priority infrastructure needs in the Maritime Infrastructure Plan. NSW Boating Now Program Round 4 Guidelines December 2021 states: The types of projects that will be considered for funding under Boating Now Round 4 are summarised below: 3.1 Boating infrastructure and amenity improvements Funding will continue to be allocated to boating infrastructure and amenity projects that improve the boating experience for the general boating public, including: • Boating access improvements such as boat ramps, wharves, jetties, pontoons, and non-powered vessel access facilities. This may also include minor dredging works to improve access to these boating facilities. • Boating amenity and service improvements such as fuel and water services, sewage pump-out facilities, toilets, car and trailer parking, dinghy storage, vessel wash-down facilities, lighting and signage (including electronic variable message signs (VMS)). Other placemaking improvements such as fish cleaning tables and pathways will also be considered when linked to broader boating infrastructure upgrades and where boaters are the primary beneficiaries. • Strategic plans, detailed designs and feasibility studies that identify the priority and longer term boating infrastructure needs and support future boating infrastructure investment.