Two-year delay in dredging decision announcement
The State Government accepted responsibility for dredging the Ettalong Channel two years ago when it adopted the NSW Coastal Dredging Strategy 2019-2024.
However, it failed to advise Central Coast Council until discussions were held on October 30 last year.
And it has only made a public announcement about it in the last month.
The Council's catchment committee for Brisbane Water was told that council staff met with State representatives about the "responsibility for dredging in Brisbane Water" where they learnt that the State now "manages dredging" at Ettalong under the Coastal Dredging Strategy.
The committee resolved on November 24 to "seek written confirmation of meeting discussions held" on October 30, according to the committee meeting record.
The strategy document states: "The Coastal Dredging Strategy identifies the state government as being responsible for the dredging of navigational channels identified in the Maritime Infrastructure Plan (Key Investment Locations)."
A table in the document lists the "key investment location" as Lower Hawkesbury, Pittwater and Brisbane Water.
The dredging need is listed as "Entrance to Brisbane Water (Ettalong Channel)" and nourishment potential as Ocean/Umina Beach.
"The NSW Government is committed to taking a strategic and proactive approach to delivering dredging for coastal communities in regional NSW," according to the document.
"Fourteen strategically significant locations have been identified based on waterway user activity, existing infrastructure and broader economic performance in combination with how these locations align with broader NSW Government priorities as described in the Management Infrastructure Plan.
"The Coastal Dredging Strategy is coordinated by Maritime Infrastructure Delivery Office to help collate market information, refine the planning and regulatory approval processes and monitor relative performance and longevity of dredging works.
"The Strategy aims to maximise the sustainability and value of dredging by working with nature to best utilise our limited sand resources for the benefit of coastal communities.
"The Office will establish a waterway monitoring framework at key locations that complements existing data programs."
The Maritime Infrastructure Plan lists five priorities "to support current demands and future growth of recreational boaters, the commercial fishing industry and tourism in Pittwater, Brisbane Water and the Lower Hawkesbury River".
The first priority was "clearly marked and accessible navigation channels for recreational and commercial vessels, particularly at Brisbane Water".
The second was "sufficient on-water and land based storage capacity that meets demand for local recreational and commercial vessels in addition to recreational vessels visiting by sea".
The third was "sufficient fuel, sewage pump-out and vessel maintenance and repair facilities that meet needs of recreational, tourism and commercial fishing vessels".
The fourth was "modern boat ramp infrastructure with capacity to meet demand from recreational boaters during peak periods".
The fifth was "suitable wharves for recreational and commercial vessels to tie up to and load and unload passengers".
The 2019 Plan stated: "Recent investments include over $1 million under the Coastal Dredging Strategy to improve boating access at the mouth of Brisbane Water (Ettalong Channel)."
Website, 24 Nov 2020
Catchments and Coast Committee, Central Coast Council