Adam Crouch calls for a Council dredging strategy

The Palm Beach ferry navigating the very narrow channel Photo: Wagstaffe to Killcare Community AssociationThe Palm Beach ferry navigating the very narrow channel Photo: Wagstaffe to Killcare Community AssociationThe Palm Beach ferry navigating the very narrow channel. Archive 2017 Image: Wagstaffe to Killcare Community Association

State Member for Terrigal Mr Adam Crouch has urged Central Coast Council to adopt “a clear maintenance strategy” to keep the Ettalong channel open in a speech in State Parliament.

“Despite the channel being a local waterway, the Council had unfortunately not taken any action on it for almost a decade,” Mr Crouch said. “Earlier this year, in partnership with advocates from the community, we were successful in prompting Council to provide a compliant application for the State Government’s Rescuing our Waterways program funding, despite that being opposed by all the Labor councillors and the Member for Gosford.

“Many constituents of mine in Wagstaffe, Killcare, Hardys Bay, Pretty Beach and surrounding suburbs have been inconvenienced by having to travel to Patonga simply to use the ferry service. “I take this opportunity to thank every single local resident who made their strong views on the need for dredging known to Council by attending meetings and by signing the online petition. “As a community, we have sent a very clear message to the Council that we expect and demand action to keep the channel open. “The NSW Government co-funds dredging work in local waterways in partnership with local councils in accordance with the NSW Coastal Dredging Strategy.

“This strategy makes it crystal clear that the waterways on our coastline that do not contain state maritime infrastructure assets are defi ned as “local waterways”, and are thereby the responsibility of local councils.” Mr Crouch confirmed the recent announcement that Council had been successful in its application for $1.225 million of Rescuing Our Waterways funding. “Council’s plan involves removing 80,000 cubic metres of seabed, which will be relocated to Ettalong, Ocean and Umina beaches.

“The project also focuses on preventing sand from re-entering the waterway. “I take this opportunity to thank the Central Coast Council staff, under the leadership of new general manager Gary Murphy, for working cooperatively with Crown Lands. “I praise Gary and the staff for the proactive nature in which they have taken on this project despite the opposition from the Labor Councillors and the Member for Gosford.

“I also urge the council to continue to work to implement a long-term maintenance strategy so that we never see a repeat of what has happened over the past 12 months of inaction. “I must also note that the State Government provided an extra $660,000 of emergency dredging, which has been underway for a while. “This funding commitment of $1.225 million provides certainty to communities on both sides of the channel. “The Council and the Government will work together to keep this waterway safe and accessible to all. “I am absolutely committed to ensuring that the Ettalong Channel remains safe for and accessible to all users of this local waterway,” Mr Crouch said.

“The method and equipment being used for this current emergency dredging work will achieve the best results and should keep the Channel open for longer. “The current emergency dredging is anticipated to remove around 20,000 cubic metres of sand. “Once complete, Central Coast Council will begin work on developing a $2.45 million longterm dredging strategy for the Channel. “The NSW Government is committed to working with Council and Fantasea Cruising to ensure this local waterway is safe and accessible for all to use.”

SOURCE: Media release, 2 Oct 2018 Media statement, 3 Oct 2018 Ben Sheath, Office of Adam Crouch MP