'Porkbarilaro' defends timing of boat ramp funding
SUCCESSIVE state governments have been criticised for not funding much-needed upgrades to the Coffs Harbour boat ramp but with just weeks to go before the state election a $10million funding announcement was made.
In town to help do the honours was Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro and he defended the timing addressing concerns of pork-barrelling.
"Just call me John Porkbarilaro," he said at the ramp this morning flanked by Member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser and the NSW Nationals candidate for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh.
Members of the Coffs Harbour Regional Boat Ramp Enhancement Committee have been pushing for improvements at the ramp for years and Mr Singh recognised their commitment.
"The committee has been calling for this project for years and today I'm proud to announce the Nationals will deliver the funding needed to get the project moving," he said.
"Upgrades will deliver an improved boat ramp entrance, a widened bay and ramp area to accommodate two pontoons, as well as more parking spaces and new wash-down facilities."
A number of regular ramp users were there to celebrate the announcement including Rick Wilson.
"It's been a problem since it was built. I'll often have to go to the marina and wait up to four hours to let the tide come in so I can use the ramp," he said.
Boats have been damaged and people injured at the treacherous ramp with most of them being tourists who are unaware of the issues.
"I've heard tourists say they'll never come back here because of the state of the ramp," Mr Wilson said.