Lemon Tree Passage boating facilities

jaybeeMon, 29/02/2016 - 8:34pm

The second most important issue after the weather, when boating, is the facilities available at either end of your journey.
The destination of Lemon Tree Passage is perhaps the best exponent of this need on the Port Stephens waterway .
I am talking about the easy of how you get on & get off your boat plus the launching & retrieval facilities at both start & end of the journey.
Having just attended “Lemon Jam” music day at Lemon Tree Passage & experienced their new , almost completed facilities, I”m impressed.
Apart from good vehicle & trailer parking beside a most functional boat ramp , you can now enjoy their two magnificent floating pontoons providing access to the parkland & very short walk to eating outlets, toilet facilities, fuel , bait & all boating needs. These two new floating walkways are close to being completed but already greatly appreciated buy all who have the need & opportunity to use them .The community deserves our congratulations for constructing this fine facility.
If we ever get the opportunity at North Arm Cove to have acceptable boating infrastructure constructed , then what they now have at Lemon Tree Passage surely must be what we should aim for here. Very serviceable ,weather resistant , floating pontoons located on either side of a wide trailer boat ramp . Nothing flash or too expensive , just what a small community would find extremely useful , with sensible  design & ability  to be funded by Government boating schemes.
The anticipated “mini” water access ramps suggested for Water Street & Casuarina Park will seldom be of any real use to our community & when their joint costs are compared to what we can see at Lemon Tree Passage , it will be very obvious that the L T P setup is many times better for similar dollar spend . Anyone who has the interest & ability to get over there by water or road should take a good look at the simplicity of their structure & just how practical & preferable their design provides . One good & practical boating facility  has to be many times better than two impractical , too small & too irrelevant attempts, located in highly tide effected areas, to even be of limited use.  Especially for an area of low population & for an operation that will not attract many users from outside our village area , but sorely needed by local residents who now do not have access to the water except via waterfront neighbours facilities.
Have not photographed the LTP setup as it isnt yet completed , is safety fenced & surrounded by construction equipment : but will be a joy to see when completed.
As you can see from the two pictures attached , it is very close to completion but already a joy to use . You have to be excited by this structure .    “ Jaybee”


The comments made in this article are interesting. There seems a line of thought that we (the residents of North Arm Cove) chose to have two dinghy slipways in preference to the described splendid facility at Lemon tree Passage.
The history behind our campaign to get proper launching facilities here goes back 20 years and a book could be written describing the hundreds of hours of effort put in by members of the Residents' Association (and its predecessor, the Progress Association) and others to get both a proper slipway and a jetty built in our village.
In summary, the realities are:
• The job can't be done without money and support
• The relevant funding authorities have until very recently failed to recognised the need despite many, many requests, meetings and depositions from us. (We have even been told by a senior GLC staffer that the funding of a slipway in our village is viewed as money wasted.)
• Over the years, several surveys of the community have been conducted asking for suggestions from our community as to where such a facility could be installed. Well thought out proposals have been made. But every exercise has resulted in a deluge of opposition. Almost everyone agrees we need a slipway but we can't agree on anything amongst ourselves.
• The two dinghy ramps for which we were granted funding (more than two years ago!) were the one and only real success story the village can claim in the respect of improving water access. Even these took hundreds of hours of work by certain individuals to win and we are still waiting for final approval to proceed. The money provided for them was nothing like that required for a proper slipway, let alone a jetty. It was simply these or nothing.
• The fight goes on involving the time and efforts of a very few dedicated people. The first real sign of hope came recently with the announcement of the $30,000 Better Boating Now grant with, at last, further support from the GLC to conduct a proper external feasibility study, the work on which has just been started.
• However, if we as a community continue to fight every suggestion, this will result in yet more money and effort going to waste. When and if the money does becomes available, it'll be up to us.
Tony Hann

Fully agree with your comments Tony. Until the selfish ones in our community work together with the majority, it will always be difficult to convince GLC and other relevant Authorities to improve boating facilities for all Cove residents.

The cost of the (certainly excellent) work happening at Lemon Tree Passage is a couple of orders of magnitude greater than cost of the Cove's two planned dinghy ramps! In this 2015 ABC report of Port Stephens boating projects http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-09-29/port-stephens-boating-infrastructu... we can read that:
"More than $1 million will be spent on an additional boat ramp and new pontoons at Henderson Park at Lemon Tree Passage." This work commenced last year. Even the feasibility study for Lemon Tree cost almost three times as much as our dinghy ramps will! On my reckoning the total expenditure is a long, l-o-n-g way from a similar dollar spend. You would expect something impressive and "flash" after such a large investment.

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