Govt invests in Harbour clean-up
The State Government has committed $3 million for improvements to ports and river entrances along the coast, with Coffs Harbour netting $400,000 for the dredging of the outer harbour and $250,000 for reinforcing the eastern breakwater.
Minister for Lands, Tony Kelly, said deepening the channel would improve conditions.
It's good news all round, according to Coffs Harbour Deep Sea Fishing Club president, Ian Finn.
"For recreational boating in general, the biggest problem has been sand build up and any money to keep the harbour operational is wonderful," Mr Finn said.
But Mr Finn said $400,000 may not be enough for a definitive solution.
"Bigger boats can't get into the harbour and in the past we've had to limit the number of boats in races due to a lack of berths," he said.
"You're talking millions to fix the harbour long term."
Coffs Harbour International Marina manager, Rob Galbraith, said the funding bodes well for the future.
"Dredging would ensure that commercial and recreational boats come to the marina and stay," Mr Galbraith said.
"I don't think people realise how many boats come to the marina and how much they bring to the local area, such as tourism and shopping. They park their boats here and use all the facilities."
Mr Galbraith said the dredging would benefit the upcoming visit by the Young Endeavour in September, which draws 3.6m.
Minister for Lands, Tony Kelly, said the funding shows the government's commitment to maintaining and investing in regional and coastal infrastructure.
"Safe access to these waterways is fundamentally important to the marine based business and visitors to these ports," Mr Kelly said.
Around 50,000 cubic metres of sand accumulates in the harbour each year, causing problems for vessels with a deep draught and also for users of the boat ramp, which is particularly affected by the sand build-up.
Before the breakwalls were built, wave action carried sand north between Muttonbird Island and Jetty Beach and was deposited on Park Beach, however the breakwall interrupts the natural drift process and Park Beach has suffered long-term loss of sand.