Dredging program 'complete', says Crouch
The current program of six months of dredging of the Ettalong Channel is complete, according to Member for Terrigal Mr Adam Crouch
He said 22,000 cubic metres of sand had been removed from shoals in Ettalong's channel, across a 30m width and a 2.5m depth.
"About 10,000 cubic metres of dredged sand has been placed on Ocean Beach to improve the condition of the beach and counter the impacts of coastal erosion," he said.
"This latest dredging work has taken place in three locations upstream of Half Tide Rocks, adjacent Lobster Beach, to intercept a sand shoal encroaching on the channel, and adjacent Little Box Head.
"The channel needs occasional dredging because of its dynamic nature with shifting sand creating shoals that threaten boating access."
Mr Crouch said the NSW Government and Central Coast Council each committed $1.225M in 2018 as part of Phase 5 of the Rescuing Our Waterways program.
"Central Coast Council will now continue to monitor the condition of Ettalong Channel and undertake further dredging, using $1.45M in remaining funds under this Rescuing Our Waterways partnership.
"Keeping Ettalong Channel safe and accessible to recreational and commercial vessels requires repeated dredging.
"We know that there is no such thing as a one-off fix.
"Council has a long-term dredging strategy for this local waterway and I encourage them to ensure it remains in an appropriate condition," Mr Crouch said.
Peninsula Waterways Committee chairman Mr Mike Allsop said he was pleased with the dredging works.
"This was long overdue when commenced last year, and was subject to disgraceful wrangling between Central Coast Council and the State Government while the community suffered," Mr Allsop said.
"Access for ferry services, deeper keel leisure craft and commercial vessels was restored about 12 months ago, and we were pleased to see a continuation of works to secure the channel and at the same time contribute sand spoil for beach nourishment.
"However, we do feel two primary issues remain," Mr Allsop said.
"Firstly, while the main problem at Little Box Head was resolved, the channel itself around Lobster Beach is still too narrow with tight turns making it difficult for vessels to pass in opposite directions.
"This needs to be widened a bit further toward the west and the red markers moved accordingly to allow safe passage, especially under a running tide.
"Secondly, we have had no indication from Central Coast Council as to what maintenance arrangements will apply to the channel now that the State Government has spent its share of the funds.
"How will future maintenance or emergency works be funded and resourced?
"The community will be in uproar if we see a repeat of the 2018 debacle.
"We are disappointed to see the dredge being stood down while some further work would actually complete the job.
"We would agree that there is probably no case for a permanent dredge if the channel is profiled correctly and if either council or the State could ensure diligent oversight of the channel and speedy deployment of appropriate equipment for maintenance purposes and emergencies.
"However, there has been stark silence on this," Mr Allsop said.
Central Coast Council was contacted by this newspaper for information about Council's ongoing maintenance plans but there was no response to our inquiries before publication.
Media release, 5 Nov 2019
Media statement, 7 Nov 2019
Adam Crouch, Member for Terrigal
Media statement, 7 Nov 2019
Mike Allsop, Peninsula Waterways Committee