Bid for boat ramps at Western Port

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A STUDY by a boating industry-backed group has recommended building four launching ramps near Tyabb and adding another at Stony Point.

Mornington Peninsula Shire has “noted” the plan which seeks to ease the “critical levels” of capacity facing recreational boat owners on both sides of the peninsula.

The shire’s potential backing of suggestions by the Peninsula Marine Alliance could add 300 car and trailer parking bays for public use at Yaringa and at Stony Point on the shores of Western Port.

Land for the Stony Point parking bays could come through acquisition or lease of Defence Force land at HMAS Cerberus.

The alliance’s study aimed to identify how to maximise the capacity, capability and efficiency of marine infrastructure on Western Port and identify potential new sites for boat ramps.

It follows the shire’s controversial decision to expand and refurbish boat ramps at Rye.

The study, outlined to council’s 8 August meeting by team leader – strategy Russell Smith, stated that Yaringa was the only site on the peninsula’s coast that could be developed as a new, large scale boat ramp without significant public opposition.

The site at the end of Yaringa Rd is partly covered by mangroves and requires dredging. It adjoins the southern boundary of the commercial Yaringa boat harbour

Council has asked the alliance to submit a community consultation strategy before seeking any statutory approvals for the projects.

The report also discussed the need for money for web cameras and other technological innovations as well as hiring ramp rangers during peak periods “to improve ramp effectiveness”.

The alliance says it is a not-for-profit industry association of marine enterprises, such as boat builders, marinas, yacht clubs, seafood producers and marine equipment manufacturers.

It received a grant through the shire’s boating safety facilities program for the report completed late last year by consultants BMT Design and Technology. Mr Smith said the peninsula had about 10 per cent of Victoria’s coastline and that it was “well placed to provide good access to the two bays.”

“However, coastal development is always a complex and contested issue with a variety of user groups, environmental issues and growing populations competing.”

The report did “not foresee council having to provide any major funding for any of its proposals, although it may be involved in managing the facilities”.

The report recommends building a public boat ramp at Yaringa on the site of the 1960 Yaringa marina on Crown land at the end of Yaringa Rd. Mr Smith’s report stated that any development would have to give “particular attention to the environmental significance of the environs”.

The shire did not respond in time for inclusion in the Western Port News when contacted (Monday).

The 135-space Stony Point public boat ramp has three lanes and a caravan park run by Crib Point-Stony Point foreshore management committee.

“Boating capacity is at a critical level on the Mornington Peninsula,” Mr Smith said.

First published in the Western Port News – 15 August 2017

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