by S Lowe for 5THE FM newsonline wattlerangenow
Beachport Beachcare Group member and passionate environmentalist Barbara Cameron addressed council’s June meeting questioning the validity of spending more money on the Beachport Boatramp, which she said has already destroyed the best family beach Beachport ever had. Ms Cameron said she questioned council’s priorities asking if it is a matter of so much already spent, they must keep spending. Ms Cameron said, sadly the Beachport Beachcare Group has suffered put downs and over the years they have been questioned about this project but time has proven that ‘we are pretty close to the mark’ she said.
“The Beachport Boat Ramp hasn’t met expectations, it has created sand bars which boats are hitting. The beach is now covered with rocks and machinery. The first million didn’t work, we then spend another million and it still doesn’t work properly. There have been three clean outs so far and any one knows that when you dig out sand it will refill,” she said.
“Ratepayers need a reality check,” she said.
Ms Cameron questioned the draft business plan and budget which she said did not answer the questions she had about the future of the boat ramp.
Ms Cameron provided this following letter to the editor to 5THE FM/wattlerangenow
Letter to the Editor
The Beachport boat ramp has clearly not met all expectations and promises made. I observe the boat ramp regularly, and see more and more sand clogging the basin, obstructing traffic, with boats regularly hitting the sand bar.
The Development Assessment Commission of South Australia (D.A.C) passed the application for Beachport boat ramp back in 2003 with the understanding that the beaches would be more stable, the amenity value and accessibility for the beaches would be improved – really? What beaches? Our once beautiful family friendly front beach has being replaced by rocks, more rocks, erosion, sand, more sand, and increasingly, machinery trying to move the sand. The SE times has recently drawn attention to the ramps cost of $1 million – this is in fact incorrect. It cost that amount the first time around (2003 – 2004). Now its cost another million – and this $2 million dollar boat ramp is still not operating as promised, despite 20 plan upgrades – what has this cost us all? Earlier calculations for cost of sand removal (in May 2014) were just $35,000. Now in 2015 the cost has escalated to $200,000, however this could rise as high as $367,000 if done properly (this information from recent wattle range agenda papers).
And as for the reduced sand movement – there is an amazing amount accumulating in the basin of the ramp despite 3 dig outs (and winter only just started – the extended groyne was not built for heavy traffic – the engineer apparently believed it would only have to be cleaned out every 5 years). Wattle Range Council rationale seems to be ‘there is too much invested, we must make it work’ – with no apparent cost price effectiveness research. Council has also voted for a payed parking area, costing $95,000 plus an additional $100,000 from the Department of Transport. A good idea to get the ramp sorted out first, isn’t it? It seems that no real management plan has evolved so far. We feel it is time that the rate payers had a reality check – what are we, the ratepayers of Wattle Range paying for? This ramp is clearly in the wrong site, and is still not working properly. We call for all rate ayers to take notice.
On behalf of the Beachport Carers Group
It’s time for ratepayers to look at the mess in ‘Rockport’ and the accumulating sand, which increases every week.
Millicent man Melton Mowbray addressed council saying he also believed the Beachport Boat Ramp project was a failure and it seemed that more spending was council’s answer to a project that may not have been started if the full cost had been known prior to starting the project. He also said that he believed that there was no accountability in regards to the project as a whole.
Wattle Range CEO Peter Harriott addressed council explaining the draft business plan and budget explaining that a million dollars needed to be found in the budget to make sure community expectations meet available funds. Mr Harriott recognised that the Beachport sand management is an issue and council needs to be prepared for any problems with the Salmon Hole. He recognised Rendelsham Hall committee for their fundraising efforts of $17,000 towards the cost of a new kitchen which council will subsidise with a further $19,000. Council financial assistance grant were also mentioned.
The draft plan has been available to the public for comment and will council will adopt the final document at a special meeting planned for June 23rd 2015.