Tesch calls for Woy Woy wharf upgrade
Member for Gosford Ms Leisl Tesch has called for Central Coast Council and the NSW Government to follow through with 2011 plans to upgrade the public wharf at Woy Woy.
Ms Tesch said she was concerned that the wharf posed a danger to ferry passengers when it was submerged, such as during the recent king tides before Christmas.
She said a concept design was considered by Gosford Council for a bigger and better Woy Woy Town Centre Wharf in November 2011.
Gosford Council had been successful in receiving grant funding on a dollar for dollar basis from NSW Maritime under the Better Boating Program to undertake a study into the current and future usage of the wharf and identify future boating needs at the site.
"So what has happened?" asked Ms Tesch.
"Council has for many years sought to improve the current infrastructure facilities of the existing Woy Woy Town Centre Wharf," a report to the December 6, 2011, meeting of Gosford Council stated.
"Council has been made aware of numerous conflicts between the activities of recreational boat owners, the local fishing community and the commercial ferry operators," the report said.
"Under the 2009-10 Better Boating Program Council was successful in receiving grant funding to undertake a study to investigate options in upgrading the Wharf.
"Consultants were engaged to undertake the study which involved preparing concept layouts of the wharf area adjoining The Boulevarde streetscape and to provide a report detailing the decisions made in preparing those layouts."
According to the report, a Concept Report was developed with representations from community groups and individuals.
Consultation also took place with an array of NSW Government authorities including NSW Maritime, Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water, Primary Industries, the Hawkesbury River Trawler Association, Police, Marine Rescue and the local commercial ferry operators.
A public meeting was held to gather information and assess the needs of the boating and general community and a vessel usage investigation was undertaken.
Following completion of the Concept Report and with assistance from the NSW Government, landscape architects were engaged to prepare images of three options to present to the public.
Council officers also submitted an application for grant funding under the 2011-12 Better Boating Program to implement stage one of the project but it is unclear whether the funding application was successful and the project appears to have stalled.
In August 2012, Gosford Council resolved to levy ferry operators an annual fee for the use of its wharf infrastructure.
The levy was set at a rate of $7000 per year for each ferry used for point-to-point regular passenger ferry operators.
Money raised from the levy was to be quarantined for "specific use to improve ferry-related infrastructure including the upgrade of passenger facilities but Woy Woy wharf was not mentioned".
Current Central Coast councillor and former Gosford councillor Chris Burke, who was present at the council meeting in 2011, that resolved to apply for funding and place proposals for the upgrade of the wharf on public exhibition, said he could not recall the outcomes of the project but surmised that Council's grant application had been unsuccessful/
Peninsula Chamber of Commerce president Mr Matthew Wales said: "Over the years there have been bits of money thrown at the Woy Woy wharf and waterfront, mainly for pre-planning work and cosmetic improvements to the facility.
"As I understand it, there is an application before government for funding to redevelop the wharf from Central Coast Council," Mr Wales said.
"We support the application because it is a precinct that has a high tourism value and there is a practical necessity for ferries to be able to pull in to the facility at any time and not just at an appropriate point in the tide.
"So we do support that funding and we hope it gets through government and money is provided," he said.
"It would also complement other things happening in the precinct including the upgrading of Fisherman's Wharf which is an outstanding facility now."
Interviews, 11 Jan 2018
Liesl Tesch, Member for Gosford
Chris Burke, Central Coast Council
Matthew Wales, Peninsula Chamber of Commerce
Minutes, 6 Dec 2011, Aug 2012
Gosford Council ordinary meeting
Reporter: Jackie Pearson