Gippsland Nationals MP’s Tim Bull and Darren Chester are seeking an upgrade of the boat launching facilities at Cape Conran with ongoing maintenance issues causing problems over the holiday period.
Mr Bull said the ramp was a major tourist attraction for off shore fishers and important to the region from a safety perspective.
“It is the only ocean access for vessels between Lakes Entrance and Mallacoota, but the problem is that it is not reliable, needs constant upkeep due to kelp and sand build up and can often require maintenance within 24 hours of being cleaned – there has got to be a better way.
“A perfect example of this is maintenance was carried out on Friday, yet 12 cars and trailers had to be towed on Saturday due the sand build up over the 24-hour period.
“As we recover from the fires and COVID, many people are coming to this area to fish and they rely on this facility, so we need to have it usable all the time and give those visiting our area a good experience. Those who were there Saturday did not have a good experience.”
Mr Chester said the ramp was not only used by recreational fishers, but also commercial abalone and lobster fishers and emergency services. There are a range of reasons we need to upgrade the ramp into a more reliable facility.
“To see the number of boat owners coming to this location over summer is incredible and we need to move with the times and have a ramp area that meets the demand head on.”
Mr Bull said he was liaising with Fisheries Victoria and Better Boating Victoria for an independent plan to be completed for the East Cape ramp area with a focus on modernising the area and creating a more reliable launching facility.
“I would hope we can have a design that caters better for boaters, a better finger jetty, fish cleaning facilities and a new design that assists in keeping sand and kelp build up off the ramp. These are the outcomes we should be exploring.
He said community groups like East Gippsland Shire Council, Destination Gippsland and many local businesses supported an upgrade.
“These organisations realise the importance of a reliable ramp to our local tourist industry and quite rightly are behind the push for an upgrade.”
Caption: Gippsland Nationals MP’s Tim Bull and Darren Chester at the Cape Conran boat ramp.
Tuesday, January 12, 2021