Rockingham cray fishers decry timing of Carlisle St boat ramp closure and dredging of Bent St channel

Stuart HortonSound Telegraph
The Bent St boat channel.
Camera IconThe Bent St boat channel. Credit: City of Rockingham

Excavation of the Bent Street navigation channel and the subsequent closure of access to the Carlisle Street sand boat ramp has been labelled a “perfectly timed waste of money” by recreational cray fishers.

The work began this week and is expected to run up until Christmas, with the City of Rockingham advising the channel will remain operational, but there will be no access to the Carlisle Street ramp because of trucks transporting excavated material.

Alternative boat facilities for professional and recreational boat users are available at Donald Drive and Bent Street, but recreational cray fisher Paul Barber of Shoalwater said those ramps were inadequate.

“It’s madness, (the City) had the whole year to do this and they have done it in the one month the crays run and they have not consulted or given notice that this was going to happen,” he said.

“The first we heard of it was (last Friday) that they were starting on Tuesday; you can’t give people three days notice when so many fishers have already put out hundreds of pots.

“This is the busiest time of year for cray fishers, so what a perfectly timed waste of money this exercise is.”

The City started planning the works immediately after winter, when the coastal processes shifting the sand had lessened, and an accurate calculation of the volume of material to be removed could be done to inform the tender process.

It also had to seek additional approval from the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attraction due to the different method selected for excavating the channel; the selected method, using a long reach excavator, reduces the impact on the environment.

The City apologised for the inconvenience and said it understood the frustrations of cray fishers, but said the ramp closure was essential to ensure the safety of workers and beach users.

Mayor Barry Sammels said the City and DBCA had successfully negotiated a sustainable use for the excavated sand from the Bent Street Channel.

“The coastline near Apex Holiday Park has experienced significant erosion over the years so DBCA is keen to use the excavated material from Bent Street to protect the shoreline,” Mr Sammels said.

“Excavated sand will initially be stockpiled to dry, adjacent to the Point Peron beach, until early 2019. White sand from the Point Peron sand trap will then be placed on top of the excavated material to improve the visual appeal of the beach.”

Environmental testing has confirmed there are no concerns in reusing the excavated material.

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