Future of Empire Bay Marina hangs in the balance

The fenced off marina

Community activist Errol Baker is determined to pull out all the stops to save the heritage listed Empire Bay Marina, which was closed by Crown Lands suddenly early in September due to safety concerns.

Baker, who is Vice President of the Empire Bay Progress Association, has set up the Facebook page Save Our Heritage Listed Empire Bay Boat Shed in an effort to attract community support for his drive to save the marina.

“Crown Lands has stopped business there and asked the tenant to move on,” Baker said.

“I think they want to demolish it, but I’m hearing it will cost the government around $1M to do that.

“I am currently assembling some quotes on the cost of restoring it and if that would cost less than demolishing it, it’s possible it could be saved.

“I intend to set up meetings with Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast, Adam Crouch, and Crown Lands officials to work through possibilities.

“Once the Brisbane Water was littered with boat sheds, but they have gradually disappeared.

“The Empire Bay boat shed is just two years short of its 100th birthday and it is one of our only remaining links to our heritage in the area.

“It’s one of the few original working boat sheds left and we really need to save these links to the past.

“I am sure groups like the local fishing club and the sea scouts would give a hand with renovations and Men’s Shed Australia has also approached me about doing something in the area.

“We’ve lost too much of our history in the Brisbane Water and this community asset is too big a part of Empire Bay to lose.”

Baker said residents were also concerned at the possible loss of the Central Coast Ferries service to the hamlet.

Daniel Rond of Central Coast Ferries said at this stage the company was unsure as to possible impacts.

“The closure is not affecting us at this stage as we are still being allowed access,” Rond said.

“But if the marina gets demolished, we may be looking at relocating our ferry somewhere else.”

Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast, Adam Crouch, said Crown Lands had taken action following repeated requests and actions to the management of Empire Bay Marina.

“Ongoing breaches of licence conditions have created a significant risk to occupants, public health and safety, and the environment,” Crouch said.

He said the issues include safety hazards, a lack of pollution control, structural defects in the boatshed, and encroachment on adjoining land.

Vessel owners can access their craft by emailing maitland.crownlands@crownland.nsw.gov.au or calling 1300 886 235.

Terry Collins

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