Dredging ‘largely ineffective’ says residents’ group

Ettalong Channel dredging resumed on September 25 Photo: Julian BowkerEttalong Channel dredging on September 25 Photo: Julian Bowker

Recent dredging of the Ettalong channel near Lobster Beach has “largely been ineffective”, according to the Hardys Bay Residents Group.

“The spoil has been deposited in a location too close to the channel and in a few days the spoil is redeposited into the channel,” said resident group newsletter editor Mr Adrian Williams. “One wonders if any hydro surveys have been made pre and post the dredging to map the effect of tidal action?” Mr Williams said: “The recent cancellation of a number of ferry services with the ferry and numerous yachts going aground, have galvanised us to again make contact with the Council, the State Government and Roads and Maritime Services to elevate the issue.” The group has urged the council to take up the State Government offer of joint funding. He said the group had sent a detailed letter to mayor Cr Jane Smith on October 23, “again making it very clear how worried the local residents are about this situation”.

He said the letter included an extract from the 2012 Coastal Zone Management Plan for Brisbane Waters, which included the adoption of the recommendation to dredge the navigation channel as a priority. Revenue raised by the State from moorings, boat licences and jetties in Brisbane Waters should be applied to the dredging and maintenance costs. He said the group had statements of support for dredging by the ferry owners, Gosford Sailing Club, the Chamber of Commerce and other concerned groups. “This ferry service is a public/private transport system that is used extensively by school children, working commuters, tourists and the local community, with fares subsidised by the State.

“The channel is the only safe access to the entire Brisbane Waters basin for vessels with a draft deeper than 1.5 metres. “We pointed out that if the channel does not receive a program of satisfactory and lasting dredging, the ferry link will likely be closed for lack of access, and the area will develop a reputation as a place where the waterways are not accessible. “The NSW Government has committed funds to be available on application by Council and, we requested that the Council make application for these funds as a matter of urgency,” he concluded. “All of us who catch the ferry to Ettalong or Palm Beach, are very aware of how narrow the channel is near Lobster Beach,” Mr Williams wrote. “Tide and weather change things. “The result is that over time, it is getting narrower, shallower, and the sand bank is getting larger. “This has been an on-going concern to the residents for years.”

SOURCE: Newsletter, 16 Dec 2017 Adrian Williams, Hardys Bay Residents Group