RAMPED UP: The Coffs Harbour boat ramp has proven a problematic issue due to sand build-up in the harbour.
RAMPED UP: The Coffs Harbour boat ramp has proven a problematic issue due to sand build-up in the harbour. Trevor Veale

Boat ramp concerns and calls for a youth centre

Boat ramp progress

PROGRESS to date with improving facilities at the Coffs Harbour Boat Ramp was on the agenda at Thursday night's council meeting.

It was reported that council staff 'as a matter of urgency' have been in contact with Marine Rescue to discuss their concept for the size, wording and placement of an illuminated sign with the central message being that skippers must report to Marine Rescue before launching from and returning to the ramp on low tides.

The ramp made headlines over the Easter long weekend this year when (during one of the lowest tides of the year at just 0.20 metres) when boats were smashed into rocks and people were injured.

Coffs Harbour City Council has extended the boat ramp basin in recent years, using a $1.1 million grant from the State Government but a sandbar often forms at the harbour entrance seeing boat propellers strike sand on low tides.

The council has previously advised they cannot deal directly with the crucial problem of sand build up in the harbour as a whole as it is under the control of the State Government.

A community group called the Coffs Harbour Regional Boat Ramp Precinct Enhancement Committee (CHRBREC) has been formed to help develop a future concept plan for the precinct.

Additionally, a grant application has been prepared to the current Saving Our Waterways Fund for a dollar for dollar matching grant of $100,000.

The funding, if successful, is intended to support the execution of a scope of work, which is currently being developed in consultation with Marine Rescue and the CHRBREC.

The scope of work to be conducted under the grant funding should it come through includes the possibility of CCTV installations which would provide live footage which would be available to Marine Rescue to assist in monitoring boat ramp safety. 

If this was to be pursued clarification would need to be sought with regards to Council managed CCTV installations being utilised by third parties to monitor public activity.

The CHRBREC has also made specific requests for electronic signage that can be regularly updated to provide current conditions and weather assessments; issue current warnings; and provide other relevant information to boat ramp users.

While there are no significant issues that are likely to prevent the signage going ahead there are 'minor environmental impacts' of illumination on the shearwater population. 

There is potential to utilise solar energy for proposed lighting and any lighting installed will be designed and oriented to minimise the impact upon the shearwater colony.

GET MOVING: Cr John Arkan has called on council to discuss the proposal of a youth centre in Woolgoolga.
GET MOVING: Cr John Arkan has called on council to discuss the proposal of a youth centre in Woolgoolga. Trevor Veale

Woolgoolga Youth Centre

COUNCILLOR John Arkan has raised the issue of children 'at risk' in the Woolgoolga area at this week's council meeting and requested a report into the feasibility of a youth centre there.

He has emphasised the need to 'expediate' this process given the growing population in the area.

Following discussion on the matter it was agreed to consider the group known as Woolgoolga and Northern Beaches Youth Educational and Events Centre and Upcycled Training Facility to execute the project.

Councillor Tegan Swan, who recently met with members of this group, spoke passionately about the need to get the concept off the ground.

"It's rare that you get a team who have the capacity to build but also run such a facility,” Cr Swan said. 

"People are literally coming out of the woodwork to support this idea. 

"There's heaps of momentum already behind it, so it's probably best if we just get out of the way.”



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