Pelican boat ramp plan looks inland

STAYING PUT: Lake Macquarie council’s acting manager asset management Brad Sutton briefs mayor Kay Fraser on plans to rebuild the Pelican boat ramp in its present location, but carved slightly inland from the edge of the lake.

STAYING PUT: Lake Macquarie council’s acting manager asset management Brad Sutton briefs mayor Kay Fraser on plans to rebuild the Pelican boat ramp in its present location, but carved slightly inland from the edge of the lake.

THE Pelican boat ramp is set to be rebuilt in its present location with a new “alcove” design, under a Lake Macquarie council plan revealed on Monday and welcomed by the mayor.

A successful tenderer will be cleared to start designing the ramp with “significant stabilisation works” as soon as the elected councillors endorse the council staff plan, a spokeswoman said, and construction is expected to start early next year. 

The design will move the boat ramp into an “alcove” set back from the edge of Lake Macquarie to buffer it against erosion, mayor Kay Fraser said.

“It’s very, very exciting to think we can deliver this boat ramp in the same location,” Cr Fraser said.

“The community has been waiting since May 2015 [when the ramp was closed] and I thank them for their patience. They were very strong in telling us they wanted it to be there.”

Protective rock structures will be needed either side of the ramp, and it will be fitted with a new pontoon to help boaters launch and retrieve their vessels. The ramp has been designed to last 25 years and is budgeted to cost $1.2 million.

By adopting the plan, the council will emphatically reject advice from the NSW government to rebuild the ramp over the top of a nearby beach, an idea that outraged hundreds of beach users.

Lake Mac Independents councillor John Gilbert called the new proposal a “permanent solution” that “basically creates a mini-harbour”.

HANDS OFF: Protesters at a community engagement event at Pelican in January. Picture: Marina Neil

HANDS OFF: Protesters at a community engagement event at Pelican in January. Picture: Marina Neil

“We should have gone straight to the community about this, instead of floating ideas from some bean counters on Macquarie Street,” Cr Gilbert said.

“We’ve lost six months over this and had a heap of stress and strain. The state government make these decisions without knowing Lake Macquarie; they think they’re talking about Port Macquarie half the time.”

The suggestion to relocate the ramp to the beach was contained in a Department of Crown Lands report on the condition of the Pelican foreshore, and came about a year after Pelican Marina collapsed into the lake.

The independent authors of the report found the ramp wasn’t suitable in its present form on Mokoro Street, and recommended it be moved 170 metres south to Bato Street.

But that proposal never made it before the elected council, following public outcry. 

The council received about 6000 submissions on the issue, and Cr Fraser said the council had ultimately heard from about 10,000 people.

In February, hundreds of residents of Pelican and the surrounding suburbs staged a protest rally on the beach, after collecting thousands of signatures on a petition for it to be protected.

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