'Someone is going to be killed'
ONLOOKERS witnessed an action-packed sight with near misses and plenty of drama at the Coffs Harbour boat ramp over the Easter long weekend.
During the low tide, boats coming in for the day ready to drive into the ramp were caught out and left high and dry on the build up of sand in the entrance.
"I saw boats on the rocks and women in the water trying to hold them away from the rocks. I don't know how anyone wasn't killed there on the weekend,” local fisherman Frank Johnson said.
A number of locals and visitors have contacted The Coffs Coast Advocate sharing concerns about the dangers they witnessed and are asking if it will 'take someone to be killed' for things to change.
"While I was down there, there must have been around 20 to 30 people complaining about the boat ramp and they were all from out of town saying it was one of the most dangerous boat ramps in Australia,” Mr Johnson said.
"Somebody is definitely going to be killed there unless something is fixed.”
The issue of sand building up in the entrance is long standing and caused by sand, wind and swell in the harbour.
In a letter to the editor, Simon Jeffery wrote, "having watched this unfold over the Easter weekend, talking to visitors and locals alike, this might be the last straw for a lot of people coming to Coffs Harbour.”
"One would hope we're not waiting for a fatality to occur before something is done.”
Coffs Harbour City Council director sustainable infrastructure Mick Raby said council crews worked on the boat ramp with an excavator on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in the lead-up to Easter to prepare for the seasonally heavy recreational boat usage where approximately 700 tonnes of sand was excavated and removed each day.
Mr Raby said over the Easter long weekend the ongoing sandbar issue at the entrance to the boat ramp was amplified by one of the lowest tides of the year at just 0.20m.
"A genuine long term and sustainable solution to the sand bar issue at the boat ramp is likely to require significant state intervention with the wider harbour problem first and council will continue discussions with the relevant state agencies while continuing to do what we can in the immediate vicinity of the boat ramp,” he said.
Locals and tourists voiced their opinions and suggestions to fix the problem on Facebook, including Frank Johnson's idea to extend the southern breakwall into the harbour pointing towards Jetty beach so the waves wash the sand down the side of the wall, swirl around and wash it out of the harbour.