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Collapse Issue 442 - 09 Apr 2018Issue 442 - 09 Apr 2018
Collapse  NEWS NEWS
Popular cruise is cancelled as channel silts up
Auditing firm backflip clears Gosford accounts
Anzac Day services
Comments sought on flying fox strategy
Items of local heritage significance identified
Traffic lights at school unlikely before 2020
Rogers Park sandstone cost $31,790
Library refurbishment starts
Lightning stopped trains, caused fire and blackouts
Council maintains dredging position after legal advice
RMS clarifies its role with Ettalong Channel
Ferry services cancelled
Chamber fears ferry service may have to stop
A chance to reminisce about simpler times
Information provided for Seniors Festival
Technology sessions for seniors
Hotel owner seeks approval for 'urgent' works
Proposal to replace single dwelling with three
Proposal 'does not comply' with setbacks or length
Construction certificate issued for non-complying units
Wicks expects speedy response from ACCC
Street tree group praised by council
Rotary seeks exchange student
Chicken shop closes as administrator is appointed
Collapse  FORUM FORUM
Why is the channel not a Government priority?
Erosion study in 1977 described sand dynamics
Government should not approve unsafe ferry service
Council is not facing our infrastructure needs
Why don't we have our own Peninsula Council?
Making the area accessible
Residents could have made events viable
Unaware of planning regulations?
Collapse  HEALTH HEALTH
Cheque presented to hospital
New rehabilitation clinic opens
Collapse  ARTS ARTS
Pop-up paella at The Bays
Songwriters' conference planned for June
Troubadour hosts Canadian performers
Collapse  EDUCATION EDUCATION
Anzac service held early
Cross country carnival on Friday
Mariners learn dance moves with students
School leaders invested before Easter
Parents body positions announced
School receives grant for sensory garden
Supplies collected for Tathra community
Collapse  SPORT SPORT
Umina boxer makes Commonwealth Games
Umina rower takes schoolboy coxed four title
Youngest surf patrol praised for their actions
Ettalong prepares for pennant season
Umina bowls' major singles

Popular cruise is cancelled as channel silts up

A Gosford cruise operator has cancelled a popular tour through the Ettalong Channel and has called on NSW Roads and Maritime Services to restrict passage to vessels with drafts of less than 1.5 metres.

Starship Cruises owner and master of the Lady Kendall II, Mr Alan Draper, said vessels with greater drafts should not navigate the channel at the entrance to Brisbane Water.

Mr Draper said he was no longer prepared to take the Lady Kendall II, which has a 2.2 metre draft, through the channel to do his sought-after Four Islands tourist cruise around Brisbane Water, Broken Bay, Pittwater and the Hawkesbury.

"That cruise represents 50 per cent of my income because it is one of the best boat trips in the country, but it is not safe to take her out," he said.

"It is a compounding sand situation down there and it is getting worse," he said.

According to Mr Draper, the channel is in the worst shape he has seen it in the 33 years he has been operating the Lady Kendall II.

He said ferry masters and anyone in control of a commercial vessel have grown increasingly nervous about driving through the channel "the RMS has provided".

"If it was a road, they would clear it.

"If it was a train track, they would clear it.

"If the RMS was serious about safety, they would put out a notice warning vessels with a draft of greater than 1.5 metres not to use the channel," he said.

Mr Draper said he believed he knew the answer to the two most important questions about the current state of the channel at Ettalong - what caused the problem and who is responsible for fixing it.

The channel to the entrance of Brisbane Water has been neglected for 150 years, he said.

"For the last 150 years, no one has done anything.

"We have always been the poor cousins of other waterways up and down the Coast."

In more recent times, the excavation for the building of the Mantra, beach nourishment and previous attempts to "sweep" the channel have all contributed to its current siltation, Mr Draper said.

"Beach replenishment programs cause the channel to block because the sand from the beach winds up in the channel."

As for whose responsibility it is to fix the problem and pay to keep the channel navigable, Mr Draper said that was clearly a State Government job.

"Council's responsibility ends at the high tide mark.

"It is a great business plan on behalf of the RMS to get Central Coast rate payers to pay its bills.

"Rate payers should be really upset if the Council starts spending money on things that are the responsibility of the NSW Government," he said.

"All we need is a channel dredge.

"Where do they get this ocean going super-dredge nonsense?

"What are we? Dubai?

"It costs $600 per hour to operate a modern dredge that could remove 900 cubic metres an hour.

"If the RMS was to pay to run a dredge through the natural channel, not the one they've marked but the one that runs across from Ettalong Point to the south of Lobster Beach and then straight to Little Box Head, with the tides in and out, it would be clear in no time."

Meanwhile, Mr Draper said the RMS needed to get serious about safety and "stop people going through it".

If your vessel has a 1.5 metre draft you won't get in on a low tide.

"The only way for me to get out now is at the top of the high tide and then I can't get back in.

"I will have a go at anything but it is just too dangerous.

"When you have white water coming in on a 1.2 metre sea it is like driving a car on ice," he said.

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