Ramp costs a big worry

HOW can Coffs Harbour City Council reduce its maintenance costs at the city's boat ramp?

That's the issue Cr Gavin Smithers is pursuing, and he's opening it up for discussion throughout the community.

He's asking for a council report on the costs associated with dredging the boat ramp, and ways those costs could be offset.

Cr Smithers said yesterday user-pays might be one option, but it was not one he, nor 'anyone on the council', would prefer.

"Some councils in Western Australia and the Northern Territory use a user-pays system, but Queensland and NSW tend not to," Cr Smithers said.

"I'm a boat user and I wouldn't be overly-happy about it, but I'm happy to have the discussion."

Another way to reduce costs could be lobbying for State Government grants, he said.

"The council is responsible for maintaining the boat ramp, and the root cause is the harbour is filling up with sand. "If you didn't have that problem, you wouldn't have to dredge the boat ramp every time there's a storm.

"However, I've got no problem with capital improvements there."

Cr Smithers said the council's plans to buy a long-reach excavator for boat ramp dredging could turn out to be the best solution to the problem.

It would defray costs because "it gets you out of bringing in an excavator from either Newcastle or from the Tweed", he said.

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