Specific dredging plans still needed, says committee
The Peninsula Waterways Committee is calling on the major political parties to forward "specific plans of action" for the Ettalong Channel, after having received responses from local political candidates.
Committee chair Mr Mike Allsop said no obvious plan of action had actually been raised by either side.
"We have seen a promise from the Labor Party to assume full responsibility for the upkeep of the channel, which would be a positive development, but this needs to be accompanied by specific plans of action put in place very soon.
"We know the position of the Liberal Party on shared responsibility with Council, and recognise the sums set aside for these works.
"Again, there is no obvious plan of action to actually get work done.
"We call on both parties to commit to immediate action on the channel and surrounding waters if elected to govern the state," Mr Allsop said.
The Committee received responses from Member for Gosford Ms Liesl Tesch (Labor), Member for Terrigal Mr Adam Crouch (Liberal) and Liberal candidate for Gosford Ms Sue Dengate.
Ms Dengate told the committee: "The NSW Government has granted $1.225 million (with council matching dollar-for-dollar) for the next stage of channel dredging and this was on top of the $660,000 that the government gave for emergency dredging.
"It is my understanding that Central Coast Council has the funds and that planning is underway for the next phase.
"At my next meeting with Councilm I want to find out exactly where we are up to with this plan, what is proposed for the next step and when that is likely to occur.
"Also please be aware that this funding grant of $1.225 million is available from the State Government every year.
"If I am fortunate enough to be elected to represent the seat of Gosford I will fight in Parliament for a permanent solution so that the channel always remains open."
Ms Tesch said: "A NSW Labor Government will deliver a $10 million Central Coast Cleaner Waterways Fund.
"This will provide $5 million for a long-term dredging plan to maintain the safe navigability of the Ettalong Channel.
"The other $5 million will go towards pollution management across Central Coast beaches and maintenance of Tuggerah Lakes.
"This money won't require matched funding from Council.
"This is just about getting the job done.
"Labor will sit down with Central Coast Council to work towards a long-term plan for the Ettalong Channel and put an end to the buck-passing and blame game that had characterised the issue over the last eight years.
"We guarantee that the Ettalong Channel will be kept open for boating and public transport.
"The community just want council and the State Government to get it sorted, and with this funding from NSW Labor, it will be."
Mr Crouch said: "Ettalong Channel is defined as a local waterway and is therefore the responsibility of the local council.
"For more than a decade, governments of both persuasions, Liberal and Labor, have co-funded dredging in Ettalong Channel.
The NSW Liberal Government has introduced the Rescuing Our Waterways funding program, which co-funds all maintenance dredging work.
"Last year I announced $1.225 million for Central Coast Council to implement a long-term plan for Ettalong Channel.
"We also provided emergency dredging funding around $1 million on three occasions in 2018.
"I am 100 per cent committed to ensuring this local waterway remains safe and accessible to all, but it is also important that Council continue to work collaboratively with the NSW Government.
"We never want to see a repeat of the past 18 months."
Social media, 15 Feb 2019, 1 Mar 2019
Mike Allsop, Peninsula Waterways Committee
Media Statement, 26 Feb 2019
Sue Dengate, Liberal candidate for Gosford
Media statement, 1 Mar 2019
Liesl Tesch, Member for Gosford
Media Statement, 19 Mar 2019
Adam Crouch, Member for Gosford