BEHIND THE SCENES: Co-op general manager Michael Beasley and board member John Wait.
BEHIND THE SCENES: Co-op general manager Michael Beasley and board member John Wait. Gemima Harvey

Company working towards a slipway solution

WHILE some boaties are anxious about a lack of tangible action at the slipway, Coffs Harbour Fishermen's Co-operative general manager has given assurances work is going on full speed behind the scenes.

The slipway has been closed since August last year after contamination from an anti-foulant was discovered at the site.

John Ashenhurst said to secure insurance, some boats must be hauled from the water and "surveyed for their value and state of seaworthiness".

He said without a slipway unseaworthy boats were forced to travel uninsured, to another harbour for survey.

"We are in the same situation," he said

The Fishermen's Co-op took on a caretaker role until remediation work was completed, but it was still working toward meeting certain conditions before it could re-open the slipway for use.

Fishermen's Co-op general manager Michael Beasley said they were still trying to get the proper permissions.

"In order for us to operate we need to meet conditions such as an operation plan, marine rails certification and upgrades to the cradle.

"While we have a licence to operate in the interim. We cannot open the slipway until these conditions are met.

"We are working behind the scenes with the Department of Primary Industries, which has been extremely helpful."

He said getting the site up and running was paramount.

A spokesman from the Department of Primary Industries said the final remediation action plan was being prepared for review by the EPA and would be available to the public when finalised.

"The work will involve remediation of the slipway hard-stand area and potentially the adjacent submerged seabed area," the spokesman said.

"Once the remediation action plan has been approved relevant planning approvals and permits will need to be obtained."

He said remediation work would start later this year.

"Additional environment and biodiversity testing was requested and provided to the EPA," he said.

"This important additional information will ensure that the remediation action plan will provide remediation works that will reduce the potential risks to the environment over the long term."



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