Council to prepare long-term dredging plan

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

Central Coast Council has resolved to “work with the NSW Government on a long-term dredging plan for the maintenance of the navigation channel”.

Councillors further resolved at the October 9 Council meeting for staff to “create a detailed report outlining the dredging requirements”. The motion noted that the NSW Government had recently announced its $1.225 million contribution through the Rescuing Our Waterways program towards dredging the channel and the funding required Central Coast Council to develop the work plan and match dollar for dollar. The resolution also called for Council to “make representations to the NSW Government requesting funds be provided to public transport operators for the purpose of providing additional bus services between Hardys Bay, Ettalong and Patonga while ferries are diverted”.

Cr Troy Marquart moved the motion which was seconded Cr Rebecca Gale Collins. “I worked with Clr Gale Collins to come up with something we believe is not dangerous, to any side of the fence,” Clr Marquart said. “I would love to have a business plan made for this council to look at the long-term lease or purchase of a dredge,” he said, quoting an example of a South Australian Council which had recently acquired a dredge for signifi cantly less money than anticipated. Cr Richard Mehrtens made suggestions for changes which were accepted by the mover without the need for amendments.

“What I am after is hopefully a motion tonight we can pass unanimously,” Cr Mehrtens said. He thanked other councillors for “taking the brunt at a community meeting a few weeks ago”. “It was a big night for a lot of us and I think what we did well that night was take a bipartisan look at the issue and take a bit of heat out of the issue,” he said. Cr Mehrtens said Council needed to accept in its long-term planning that NSW Government Rescuing Our Waterways funding would provide a long-term solution. “At least this year’s allocation is not a long-term solution,” he said. “We as councillors have been provided a very succinct and detailed briefing. “We know it is a lot more than $2.4 million.

“Yes, we have got $1.22 from the Government and we need to provide matching funds but my opinion is Rescuing Our Waterways funding needs to be put towards getting the channel open and maintenance dredging for the navigation channel.” There were no speakers against the motion and it was carried with the one abstention (Cr Greenaway) and no votes against.

SOURCE: Central Coast Council agenda 6.4, 8 Oct 2018 Reporter: Jackie Pearson