Extra dredging work needed

DREDGING NEEDED: A sandbar is building up at the Beachport boat ramp.

DREDGING NEEDED: A sandbar is building up at the Beachport boat ramp.

A REQUEST for further dredging of the Beachport boat ramp at a cost of $89,000 is set to be considered by Wattle Range Council at its March monthly meeting this afternoon.

Council has already paid $107,000 for this work in this financial year to a Victorian firm in September and dredging is again needed.

The 2018/19 budget had set aside $170,000 in total for dredging expenses and so council staff are seeking the green light for the additional outlay of more than $26,000.

If all goes to plan, the same Victorian firm will dredge for nine days later this month and the boat ramp will be ready for use by holidaymakers at Easter and the first term school holidays.

Engineering services director Peter Halton said a depth survey was completed on February 27 showing a sand bar forming along the breakwater wall.

“As expected, the basin is slowly filling with sand and without a follow-up dredging campaign, service standards will be affected,” Mr Halton said.

“The boat ramp is important for the local economy, supporting a professional fishing fleet and tourism.

“There are also social benefits to the local community and visitors.”

Council previously had a boat ramp advisory committee but it has been in limbo for several months.

However, support for action by council has come in letters from two prominent seaside community groups.

Beachport Rivoli Bay Lions Club president Craig Reilly said the last dredge undertaken in September was successful and he commended all involved.

“However the sand is building up inside the groyne and is in need of another dredge,” Mr Reilly said.

“Having many discussions about this among locals and fishers a dredge before Easter would be a great time as this is around the halfway mark and will get us through till next September.

“Keep up the good management of the dredging and we will always have a great boat ramp facility.”

His views are shared by Beachport District Development Association chairperson Ros Brown.

“We support the Wattle Range Council in every effort and work they put into keeping the boat ramp clear of sand, by dredging,” Ms Brown said.

“The coastline is always shifting in response to wind and waves and because of this there will always be the necessity for sand management.

“We believe the boat ramp brings to Beachport both social and economic benefits.

“Beachport is a seaside community and for both the local residents and tourists who enjoy boating and fishing there should be a safe, year-round boat ramp.

“The boat ramp maintains a lifestyle quality to the boating members of the community.

“It is essential Wattle Range Council maintains the boat ramp to a safe usable standard and we support every effort the council use to maintain this standard.”

According to Ms Brown, a year-round boat ramp provides safe access for the State Emergency Service and rescue boats for both amateur and professional fishermen at the time of any sea emergency.

“Only recently two boats from Beachport supported a yacht with six crew that was taking on water, by towing and escorting it back to Beachport.”