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Warrnambool breakwater

Feedback sought on safer harbour options

News Article Date: 
Thursday, 6 August 2015

The Warrnambool community is invited to comment on options to improve boat launching and retrieval at Lady Bay.

Since late last year two groups – a community reference group and a technical advisory group – have examined options that would provide safer boating facilities at the Port of Warrnambool.

The two groups have identified three options which were approved by Council at its August meeting on Monday night.

"The motion before Council was about looking to get a measure of support for the various options along with providing an opportunity for written comment before Council looks to make a decision on what the best course of action is,” Warrnambool City Council mayor Michael Neoh said.

“Before us is a major decision with the potential to cause significant change to Lady Bay and the Merri Sanctuary. It is vital we get it right.”

Crs Neoh and Brian Kelson are members of the community reference group working on the project.

Head of the community group, Russell Worland, said the groups took into consideration a range of factors in arriving at the three options including outcomes for boat users, possible impacts on the environment, costs and on other users of Lady Bay such as swimmers, surfers, sailors, walkers and cyclists.

“What we must all remember is that Lady Bay will never be a millpond,” Mr Worland said.

He said exposure to a high energy coastline meant that beyond the Breakwater there would be times when no smaller boats should head out to sea even if they could be safely launched.

The three options are:

Option A: upgrade existing facilities. This would see a widening of the boat ramp with the ramp constructed of porous material to diffuse wave energy. Dredging would continue and these changes would make boat launching possible 90 per cent of the time. Cost: $1.5 million in capital works and $250,000 in annual maintenance.

Option B: Breakwater spur and artificial groyne. This would include the ramp widening and the addition of a spur emerging from the breakwater to the east of the ramp and a groyne added to the north of the boat ramp. This would make boat launching possible 100 per cent of the time. Cost: $3.2 million in capital works and $200,000 in annual maintenance

Option C: an enclosed harbour. This would see a longer groyne to the north of a widened boat ramp and a larger spur emerging from the Breakwater. This would make boat launching possible 100 per cent of the time  and create calmer conditions within the harbour. Cost: $5.5 million in capital works, $400,000 in annual maintenance.

View the conpects and submit your feedback

Chairman of the technical group, John Sherwood, said it was evident all three options would make for safer boat launching and retrieval and it was a matter of the extent of works the community wished to see at the port.

“There was a considerable body of scientific research to draw on in identifying these three options,” Dr Sherwood said.

“We know that strategic dredging has brought about a reduction in wave height and that improvements to existing facilities could make boat launching possible about 90 per cent of the time.

“We also know that the addition of further infrastructure could make boat launching possible 100 per cent of the time – but of course with these options there is a greater cost involved greater visual impact and potentially a greater impact on the environment.”

Safer Boating Project – the process

September 2014
• Warrnambool City Council resolves to form a Safer Boating Facilities Community Reference Group
(CRG) and a Safer Boating Facilities Technical Reference Group (TRG) to assist with the next stages of proposed safer boat launching facilities at the Port of Warrnambool

December 2014
• The two groups attend workshops to help prepare a stakeholder engagement strategy
• Posters and postcards are produced to inform the community about the project and invite people to register their interest in receiving project updates
• Community Reference Group Chairman Russell Worland visits ports in South Australia

January 2015
• Community Reference Group meeting

February 2015
• Council adopts the Port of Warrnambool Stakeholder Engagement Strategy
• Technical Reference Group Chairman John Sherwood and Council Director City Infrastructure
Peter Robertson visits a port facility at Beachport, South Australia.
• Technical Reference Group meets on the 18th

March 2015
• The Technical Reference Group will meet on the 18th
• The Community Reference Group will meet on the 25th

July 2015
• Reference groups will present a range of options to create safer boat launching and retrieval

August 2015
Council seeks community feedback on three preferred safer boating options

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