Submission to Council: leave the Clyde Boat Ramp alone

Councillors: Submission to your Draft Batemans Bay Waterfront Masterplan and Activation Strategy Eurobodalla Council have advised us it intends to remove the Clyde Street boatramp. The underhanded way you have chosen to tell your community of your decision (yes, you endorsed this draft plan for public exhibition) was to leave the very public, highly used and most important Clyde Street boatramp out of the Draft Batemans Bay Waterfront Masterplan and Activation Strategy hoping, as always, that the community wouldn't bother reading the Draft or responding. In this case the community has read it and they have noticed that they had been double-crossed by you. Council had given assurances to the community that they had lobbied hard on behalf of the community with the State Government and RMS to keep the ramp. This apparent advocation turns out to be bunkum as neither the RMS nor the State Government had, nor has, any intention of removing the boatramp. What is now revealed via this Draft is that there are Council staff who clearly have other visions for the area that includes a park, a cafe, a toilet block and concrete ping pong tables where youth can "hang out".

Above: The image above is the very first "communication" that recreational fishers, government agencies, volunteer services and oyster farmers had that Council had decided to remove the boatramp. They have now been told that if they want it they had best put in a submission saying why it should be retained.

I draw your attention to the "survey" that Council says drove their decision. Note Question 8. This question has been framed specifically as an IF or ELSE - If Boatramp ELSE Youth Central.

Now note that the "survey" that decided the fate of the boatramp was responded to by 85 people. Might I add that they were 85 random people approached in the street or attended a pop-up display of the Foreshore concepts developed by a Tasmanian consultant. Apparently, of the 85 respondents 41% said they wanted to retain it 26% were unsure and 33% were in disagreement. So with the backing of those 33% of random, unnamed respondents Council decided the boatramp HAD TO GO. At no point have they had discussion with the users of the ramp. This Council has a VERY POOR record of openly and truthfully engaging and consulting with its community. This subterfuge of a survey to justify the removal of a public facility by way of a Draft document to be adopted by Council with the purpose of achieving the outcome desired by Council staff is appalling. And sadly Councillors, this has happened on your watch and you have been a party to it.

Eurobodalla Council has failed, and continues to fail to recognise the importance of the Clyde Street boatramp. Council ignored Councillor Constable when he advised that the loss of the off ramp from Vesper Street to the boatramp would bring a domino of consequences. He clearly warned that if the off ramp was not provided then boat ramp users would be forced to trundle their way down North Street and continue along Clyde Street via the pedestrian quietened street scaping to access the ramp and then return that way. Oyster punts would also be forced along this path as would police water craft, Marine Rescue, Maritime and the hundreds of others who use this ramp because it is FUNCTIONAL and SAFER and WELL PLACED along the Clyde River foreshore. Councillor Constable was ignored. Now faced with the above scenario the Council town planners see the ramp and its related marine traffic as an ugly duckling in their foreshore vision. So who instructed the consultant to leave the boat ramp out. The easy answer is Council staff. It is an understood that the consultant would not have left out such an important aspect of the foreshore unless advised to do so. So was it the town planners under the direction of Director of Planning, Lindsay Usher, or was it the engineers under the direction of Director of Infrastructure, Warren Sharpe, who has for decades resisted the continued community requests to improve the facility using funds from fishing licences and State Boating Programmes to make the facility safer for the boating community. The options now being put forward that users go instead to Hanging Rock or Nelligen simply don't hold water and pay disrespect and disregard to the hundreds of users (residents and visitors) who remain unaware that unless they make a submission to YOUR Draft plan (as endorsed by you for public comment) and unless they advise YOU, the councillors, why YOU should over-ride a staff recommendation to remove the ramp, then they will sadly lose this facility. It is very clear that the community wish to retain the facility and even enhance it by way of pontoons and disabled access improvements. The opinion of 33% of random people asked a contrived and double ended question in a street survey is both an embarrassment to YOU, to YOUR council and to those YOU represent. YET your staff will assure you it was "public consultation". As, has now been approved by the Mayor, to be acceptable speech in Council chambers, I encourage YOU to "get your hand off it" and to represent YOUR community who elected YOU rather than to 'rubber stamp this very intended manipulation to remove a public facility by the staff who work for YOU and for US, the ratepayer, the resident and the visitor. Lei Parker Tuross Head I encourage the community to make a submission. While you might not be a user of the ramp (as I am not either) you might share the sentiments of many that the process of this blatant manipulation by Council is akin to their recent show of intent to lease the Batemans Bay Community Centre against the wishes of the community (who would have been kicked out) and against a motion that told them to desist. You can learn more of the Draft Foreshore plan HERE Closing date for submissions: Tuesday 28 July 2020, 4.30pm

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