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Max Castle - 13 March 2018

Max Castle made the below comments at the Ordinary Council Meeting 13 March 2018.

Boating and fishing infrastructure in Eurobodalla

Introduction

Good morning - Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you all.

The topic I want to speak about is boating and fishing infrastructure in Eurobodalla.

My name is Max Castle - I live at Tuross Head where I have had a property for about 20 years.

I am retired and have no financial interest in this issue merely supporting the community as a volunteer.

Background:

I can advise a meeting was held recently with the Mayor, GM and Infrastructure Director regarding a number of issues relating to the condition and adequacy of recreational marine infrastructure within the Shire.

The meeting was constructive and our Mayor and GM were very supportive and suggested the need for a Working Group to consider the issues I will provide regarding infrastructure and I thank you Mayor for this recommendation.

Subject Topic

Being a representative of Recreational Fishing Advisory Council (RFNSW), I unfortunately receive complaints about the lack of facilities or standards at boat ramps and associated facilities.

Time marches on and there is concern that Eurobodalla is now being left behind, if we are to keep pace we need to up the game with competing Councils. (who are also seeking the tourist dollar.)

Over the last five years discussions have been held with Council. However there is a stumbling block! Recurrent /maintenance funding and depreciation of an asset have to be considered before grant requests are submitted! Fisheries and RMS (Maritime) have confirmed maintenance funds cannot be provided.

In 2012 a State wide Recreational Fishing Economic Study revealed that $360 million per year is spent by recreational fishers on the South Coast!    That's a significant figure!

This document was to inform the community of the very significant contribution recreational fishing makes to the economy. It was hoped recreational fishing would be better recognised and supported.   This has not occurred!

(Reference to the final report of the economic survey is provided below

https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/499302/UOW-statewide-economic-survey-final-report.pdf

I have researched the annual Government expenses paid by recreational fishers and boaters in fees, licences and registrations. This included residents and visitors within/to the Eurobodalla over the last five years. The results were:

Annual fees paid to NSW State Govt.                                                                                          $3,805,300

Average Eurobodalla Infrastructure Grant expenditure (over 5 years)                                    $   288,000

The Maritime Better Boating Statement 2015 advised Coastal Council allocations for 3 years were:

Mid north coast $3.07m. Pt.  Stephens $3.68m.

Lake Macquarie $3.08m. Shoalhaven $4.70m.

Hawkesbury/Brisbane Waters region $5.28m.    Murray region $3.64m.

The Far South Coast $1.48m - of which Bega received approx. $810,000 and Bombala $50,000 leaving approx. $620,000 for Eurobodalla  over three years: average $270,000 per year!  A considerable difference!

(Round 2 of the Boating Now Program, ending 2019, recently announced includes two projects for
Eurobodalla to the value of$385,000, car/trailer parking, Nelligen and Durras. Yet to be completed.)

Fishing Grants: - Since 2003/04 the Shire has received funding for 6 projects totalling approx... $252,000. Other councils have received similar amounts:

Shoalhaven City Council -  6 projects -  $261,853

Tweed Shire Council - 3 projects - $65,500 and

Kempsey Shire Council - 3 projects - $176,445.  - These are not significant allocations.

Other Grants: - From time to time other Government grants are announced.  Private enquiries reveal that on occasions these grants can fund projects that will enhance fishing and boating projects/facilities. There needs to be clarification and transparency in regard to these opportunities.

Observations;

I have identified a number of observations which have been included in the document to read when more time is available.

Conclusion:

I would like to thank Council for the work that has been achieved over many years and for the attention that is given to boat ramps especially before large events.

Considering the State is receiving $3.8million each year it is disappointing the value of grants being sought by Council. I am seeking Councils support to promote fishing and boating activity through improved infrastructure which will assist in attracting serious money to the Shire!

I hope this information informs the Councillors of the communities concerns. I would hope at least one Councillor would participate in the proposed Working Group. These issues are not going to just disappear therefore we jointly need to identify a way forward and develop a 10 year plan and therefor seek your support for this proposal.

We need to understand that since the introduction of the recreational fishing licence (17 years ago) there has been a massive change in recreational fishing attitude, particularly towards education and conservation. That's one reason you see many competitions now run on a catch and release basis.

The significant millions ($20m) that were paid back to NSW Treasury over the last 15 years have been achieved. That funding enabled the introduction of Recreational Fishing Havens (and many other platforms), of which the South Coast has the majority. Tuross has the largest RFH and recreational fishers are committed to ensure they are managed well!

Now we can be serious with upgrades, new projects fishing platforms, new boat ramps, artificial reefs and the accessories needed for a good facility - or miss out.

I seek you support for Council to increased number/value of Grants per year.

Finally I would like to say this presentation is not intended to criticize anybody but to highlight the need for a better marine infrastructure policy, a greater commitment by Council and the willingness of the community to work with Council to stay in front of the pack!

I seek you support and a response in due course please. Thank You

Observations: - If asked

*Lack of Maritime grant applications by Eurobodalla compared to other Councils. (up to 95% funding)

* The need to seriously identify projects that can be addressed by I 00% funded Fishing Grants.

* A Gap in what is considered an acceptable standard by Council and community expectations.

*A considerable difference in fees being paid by Fishers/Boaters to DPI Fisheries/Maritime and the return being received by the community by way of projects funded grants.

*The time frame in the delivery of infrastructure.

*The difficulties Council have, working to a policy that considers maintenance expenditure on boating/fishing infrastructure, thus limiting grant applications.

*Lack of recognition through support for the boating/fishing community considering the significant economic and tourism benefits this recreational activity provided.

*Conflicting advice received regarding the opportunity to seek separate State or Federal grants – outside Maritime or Fisheries for significant community projects.

*Considering fishing is a recreational activity, there is a lack of understanding of why associated infrastructure is not included in the recreational strategy (ROSS).

Max Castle

Advisory Council on recreational fishing (RFNSW) Life member Tuross Head Fishing  Club (THFC)
Life member Sea Bees Boating/Fishing Club (SBFC)
Vice President and Public Officer Recreational Fishing Alliance(RFA) NSW Fish-care Volunteer
Member Australian Sport fishing Association (ANSA) Angel Ring Co-ordinator
Member Tuross Head Progress  Association

Council's reply

Firstly, thank you for the information provided as part of your presentation and in our direct discussions.

We remain committed to further improving boating and fishing facilities within Eurobodalla on a priority and evidenced needs basis. We appreciate your recognition that:

i) Council must consider the benefits from any new infrastructure built and assess the
on-going costs of any infrastructure built to ensure this is affordable for our
ratepayers, and

ii) the current level of funding support from the NSW Government for boating
infrastructure and dredging should be increased.

Our commitment was confirmed by Council in adopting the Delivery Program 2017-21 and Operational Plan 2018-19 including the following key directions:

Delivery Program
7.4.3 Work in partnership to develop marine infrastructure

Operational Plan
7.4.3.1 Advocate for NSW Government boating and marine infrastructure and on-going dredging of navigational channels
7.4.3.2 Seek additional funding for local boating and marine infrastructure
7.4.3.3 Maintain, renew and upgrade boating and marine infrastructure.

We also confirm Council’s current priorities for 2018-19 as being improved boat parking and associated facilities at:

1. Nelligen
Council has been successful in attracting $360,000 in grant funding under the Boating Now program for the construction of additional boat parking on the west side of the Clyde River.

This as a strategic decision to address the high demand for boat parking already occurring at Nelligen and to meet the growing use of this beautiful river. The boat parking is being provided on the western side of the river to better support the businesses and take
advantage of the existing foreshore facilities and upgrades already undertaken by Council including the previous ramp upgrade, pontoon, boat parking, car parking, playground and related foreshore work.


Council is being well supported in our endeavours through the positive advocacy of the Nelligen Progress Association.
Council has already acquired two of the properties required for the first phase of the boat parking upgrade. The boat parking upgrade is schedule to occur prior to Christmas 2018.

Council is currently negotiating the purchase of the remaining two properties for the future expansion of this facility. Regrettably, the acquisition of the land for the boating facilities was not funded under the Boating Now program. The NSW Government has however
agreed to fully fund the first phase of boat parking construction costs which is welcome.

We will again seek this same level of support for the construction of the second phase of the boat parking on the basis of Council’s significant investment in the land acquisition.

2. South Durras Lake
Council has secured $225,000 in funding toward the upgrade of boating facilities South Durras Lake. We have already completed the upgrade of the boat ramp in 2017. The other upgrades will include car parking, boat parking and a new public toilet facility.

The new toilet will commence shortly. The design of the parking arrangements is currently being prepared for further consultation with the community.

This project addresses the previous poor condition of the ramp, the lack of parking, toilet and related facilities, and the erosion occurring across the car parking area.

This project also received positive advocacy from the Durras Community Association to assist Council achieve this grant funding.

3. Batemans Bay bridge and related works
This project had the potential to adversely impact boating facilities on the Clyde River.

Council has advocated to the NSW Government and Roads & Maritime Services and achieved agreement to the following:
a) Retention of the ramp and boat parking on the southern side of the Clyde River
b) Provision of a ramp with a modest increase in boat parking on the northern side of the Clyde River
c) Provision of a platform on the southern side of the river suitable for use by fishermen
d) Provision of a replacement for the existing NSW Government owned T-wharf (immediately east of the existing bridge) with improved accessibility.

These works will be provided at the full cost of the NSW Government as part of the bridge project. The RMS is responsible for the preparation of detailed designs of these facilities and has committed to engage with Council and the community prior to works proceeding.

4. Recreation Fishing Trust Grants
Council recently applied under the Trust for six projects with a total value of $299,543.

We have been successful in attracting $15,000 for Mosquito Bay fishing table and solar lighting at the boat ramp, and Tuross Head fishing table.

We have agreed with the Trust to re-apply for two projects, valued at $57,543, inclusive of some Council funding.
Advice from the Trust is that they would not support a jetty at Ringlands as the Trust formed a view that there were suitable locations along the foreshore readily able to be used by fishers.

The proposed accessible pathway to connect the accessible fishing platform to the accessible toilet at Quarry Park was also not funded. It is disappointing that the Recreational Fishing Trust did not support this project to complete this fully accessible land based fishing location, especially given the extensive investment already made by Council in the new accessible car parking, shelters and barbeque facilities. We will be writing to the Trust expressing our disappointment in the lack of support for the remaining pathway connecting the fishing platform to the accessible toilet to further assist people with a disability.

Funding and Work to Date

Inclusive of the above, Council has secured a total of $1,211,500 in Government funding for boating and marine infrastructure projects across the Eurobodalla since 2014.

BETTER BOATING NOW                                                                      Grant Amount
Narooma - Apex Park – upgrade boat ramp & install pontoon               $150,000
North Batemans Bay – upgrade boat ramp car park                              $120,000
Tomakin – upgrade boat ramp and parking                                            $173,000

NSW BOATING NOW
Nelligen – boat ramp car park upgrade                                                  $360,000
South Durras – car park and accessible public toilet                             $225,000

RECREATIONAL FISHING TRUST
Moruya – Russ Martin Park – accessible fishing platform                     $105,000
South Durras – accessible fishing platform                                           $27,000
Tomakin, Dalmeny & South Durras – fish cleaning tables                    $16,500
Tuross Head – wharf fish cleaning table                                               $7,500
Mosquito Bay – lighting for boat ramp and fish cleaning table              $7,500

RESCUING OUR WATERWAYS
Tuross Head – Lavender Bay boat ramp dredging                               $20,000

SUCCESSFUL FUNDING TOTAL:                                                      $1,211,500

Council was also advocated successfully for the dredging work on Batemans Bay Bar by the NSW Government, and more recently collaborated with recreation fishers to secure funding for the offshore fishing reef.

Moreover, the Table One below highlights the extensive work undertaken on our boating and marine infrastructure working closely with the grant authorities.

Table One – Boating Facilities in Eurobodalla

LocationUpgrades completed
South DurrasRamp replaced, new toilet and parking upgrade 2018-19
Nelligen westRamp upgrades, new pontoon, boat parking, carparking, foreshore upgrades. Land acquired by Council. Funds secured for
phase one of boat parking upgrade
Nelligen eastRamp upgrade complete
Clyde Street west, Batemans BayRamp upgrade, boat parking, foreshore and toilet upgrades complete. RMS agreement obtained to retain with new Batemans Bay bridge
Old Punt Road, Batemans BayRamp upgrade, boat parking, car parking, toilet and foreshore upgrades. RMS agreement obtained to retain and improve number of boat parking spaces
Hanging Rock Regional Boating FacilityAdditional accessible pontoons and fish cleaning facilities
Mosquito BayRamp upgrade, lighting
TomakinRamp upgrade, boat parking, accessible toilets
Mossy PointOverflow parking restored to headland
Brierleys, MoruyaRamp upgraded. Retention negotiated with airport approval. Future upgrade plan to be developed.
Moruya townRamp upgrade, boat parking, fish cleaning facilities, toilets
Preddeys WharfRamp upgrade, boat parking, toilets. Provision for Tuross VRA subject to Maritime agreement.
Tuross River at HighwayRamp upgrade, fish cleaning tables
Tuross Head townJetty, fish cleaning tables, lighting improvement, on-going maintenance dredging
Mummaga LakeInformal ramp retained
Dalmeny OceanRamp Ramp upgrade, boating parking
Apex Park NaroomaMajor ramp upgrades, new pontoon
Mill Bay NaroomaRamp upgrade
Quota Park NaroomaMaintenance
The Loop NaroomaRamp upgrade