Committee challenges candidates on dredging policy
Peninsula Waterways Committee chairman Mr Mike Allsop has called on all candidates in the upcoming State election to indicate their stance on the Ettalong dredging issue.
Mr Allsop said the association was apolitical and simply wanted to ensure the waterways remain open to watercraft at all times.
One of its aims is to make sure residents are never again stranded after the Palm Beach to Ettalong-Wagstaffe ferry could not operate for about eight months last year causing inconvenience to travellers to and from the Coast and financial damage to local businesses.
He said the committee would invite all candidates in the upcoming State election to provide a statement of policy and intention with regard to the ongoing maintenance and enhancement of these waterways, and an explanation of the basis for funding to be made available for such works.
"We will be posting this letter on our Facebook page (Peninsula Waterways Committee) and on our website."
The committee was formed in October last year and spent time meeting with local MPs and council representatives to get their perspective on the issues surrounding the waterways maintenance and ongoing funding.
Technical experts, marina operators and deep keel users have also been contacted.
Mr Allsop said that nine months after the "great blocked channel standoff" everyone was saying a long-term program of work was needed, informed by proper analysis but the costs issue between council the State still needed to be settled.
He said there was on-going debate between Council and the State Government as to what works were required now and into the future, how they would be undertaken and funded.
"A clear, consistent, effective and responsive process is required.
"Our sense is that there is still concern in the waterways user fraternity, especially yachties, although the ferry operator is satisfied at present,'' Mr Allsop said.
"The dredge is idle, waiting on the program of work ... to distribute the sand already removed to a spot further down towards Umina Beach.
"We'd like that piece of the puzzle sorted as soon as possible so that future resilience can be built into the waterway interface to Broken Bay.
"We'll keep on pushing, and especially look to our election candidates to provide due consideration to this important issue as they refine their promises to us all,'' he said.
Interview: Merilyn Vale, 20 Feb 2019
Mike Allsop, Peninsula Waterways Committee