THE Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has endorsed Mornington Peninsula Shire’s plans for a $1.2 million fourth boat ramp and jetty and renew three existing boat ramps at Rye.
The VCAT approval gives the go-ahead to the contentious Rye Recreational Boating Precinct Plan, adopted in principle by the shire Council in November 2013, which recommended an upgrade to the Rye boat ramp precinct as a “short-term priority”.
Finance is coming from a Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning grant of $588,000 with the shire adding $648,000 from its 2016-17 budget.
It is believed a condition of the DEWLP grant was that the fourth boat ramp be built – a condition opposed by the Rye Community Group Alliance.
The group’s leader, Mechelle Cheers, said its members were angry the shire had backed the fourth ramp when it would be “rarely” needed (“Safety first ‘crucial’ at Rye boat ramp” The News 14/8/17).
Last week she said the VCAT decision was based on the fact that the area already had boat launching ramps “and so a permit to construct an additional ramp should be granted. No account was taken of its possible impact on social amenities or the Rye community as a whole”.
“No account was taken of the environment or the type of water craft being used there, and no account was taken of its impact on beach users.”
Cr Hugh Fraser said the approval was “great news for the boating and fishing industry on the peninsula”.
“At peak periods the Rye boat ramp is fully occupied and serves much more than the local community – increased investment to this facility is much needed,” he said.
“An extra ramp and renewal of the existing ramps will reduce queue times in summer and, ultimately, make the area safer for users. It will be easier, quicker and safer to get all watercraft in and out of the water.”
The $900,000 Rye foreshore landscape works will include a wheelchair-accessible boardwalk with beach access which will protect sand dunes and connect to the Bay Trail. The works will include paved plazas, rain gardens to reduce stormwater runoff, removal of a storm water outfall to the east of the pier and decorative lighting, the shire said.