Boat Ramp project history

dougkThu, 06/09/2012 - 1:08pm

A public boat ramp continues to be a high priority issue for the local community and therefore for NACRA - despite some recent rumours to the contrary! This is a potted history of events to date (in reverse chronological order - latest events on top). Comments on the boat ramp issue are invited. Add your comment to the discussion below.

14/8/2012 Great Lakes Council Meeting completely ignored concerns expressed by NACRA and in residents' submissions and: 46 RESOLUTION (Moved L Roberts/Seconded L Gill)

That the draft Recreation Boating Strategy be adopted subject to the amendments identified in this report.

The amendments included NO changes to the draft concerning North Arm Cove (and this is the report that told locals to use the Karuah boat ramp), but 32 RESOLUTION (Moved L Roberts/Seconded C McCaskie)

That Council seek grant funding, or alternatively existing finances if available, to conduct a study into establishment of a boat ramp at Medina Bay.

11/8/2012 At the NACRA General Meeting Len Yearsley reported that while he was seeking information from Council regarding a meeting with Walker Corp re the possibility of a Village Boat Ramp at Beauty Point or some other suitable location on Walker Corp land, David Bortfeld GLC advised that as a result of community pressure from several groups and individuals Councillor Len Roberts is to seek funding for a feasibility study of Medina Bay as a possible boat ramp site. It will include survey, sea grass studies, drainage, engineering, civil works and necessary criteria to assess the cost effectiveness of the proposal prior to community consultation if feasible. This will be similar to the feasibility study conducted at Heros Bay. Council feels that there are only about 20 people interested in using a boat ramp. Negotiations for the Walker Corp Site couldn’t now continue till the Medina Bay site had been investigated. Given the amount of interest, it was suggested that a forum be opened on the Website for discussion. Comments are therefore encouraged below.

9/6/2012 Len Yearsley reported to the NACRA General Meeting that he "had advised Council on 29 March that Gerry Beasley of Walker Corp had indicated to him a willingness to discuss the possibility of a boat ramp at Beauty Point or some other suitable location even before other development commenced. At the Council Community meeting on 25 May 2012 Lisa Schiff, GLC Director of Planning, advised she was meeting with Gerry Beasley the next day and would raise the issue and advise NACRA re the outcome. Lisa has since advised that the meeting with Gerry Beasley was cancelled and has no further outcome at this time. She will advise NACRA of outcome when the meeting is rescheduled."

28/5/2012 NACRA submitted a strongly worded response to the Draft Recreation Boating Infrastructure Strategy. (It appears that the arguments in both this and in NACRA's original submission were completely ignored.)

May 2012 Council places its Draft Recreation Boating Infrastructure Strategy on public exhibition. The report includes statements such as "there is sufficient spare capacity in adjoining facilities to service North Arm Cove" apparently referring to the facilities at Karuah. It also recognises "This area is in much need of some form [of] aquatic access facilities" but this is followed by: "Due to environmental constraints and land tenure access is to be limited to jetty moorings and informal access where possible."

14/4/2012 NACRA General meeting discussed some of the alternatives for a boat ramp location and resolved:

That NACRA should reply to Council, noting that although Council has rejected all current proposals, NACRA considers the issue of water access still open.

27/3/2012 At the March meeting of Great Lakes Council: 263 RESOLUTION (Moved L Gill/Seconded L Roberts)

That Council:
1. Not pursue the formation of a formalised boat ramp in NAC within the current community reserves
2. investigate the possibility of a long jetty at Casuarina Reserve.
3. Ensure provisions, where appropriate, for boat launching facilities in any existing or new development that occurs in the area
4. Develop a Plan of Management for Heros Bay Reserve dedicating the area for passive recreation, excluding other uses.

13/3/2012 Having been made aware of the recommendations that would be made to Council at its 27 March meeting (rejecting a formalised boat ramp within the Village area; see above), the NACRA executive committee began reconsidering several alternatives outside the immediate Village precinct.

11/2/2012 NACRA General Meeting. David Bortfeld, GLC Manager Parks and Gardens, addressed the meeting as follows:

The Recreation Boating Strategy was a process to identify the future needs of every GLC community re infrastructures needed. Grants are funded by both NSW Maritime and GLC and there had been a public call for submissions.

Heros Bay – David was commissioned by Council to find out what could be achieved on the site. A Marine Biologist has mapped the sea grass, and drawn plans showing the sea grass bed starts about 87 metres out. Engineer drawn plans show the impact of physical structures. Because of the long tidal movement, a ramp 40 metres long would allow 4.5 hours use each day/night with water depth of 0.3 metres (The Public Works standard is 0.75 metres). David will now take these findings back to Council to ask if Council wants to cost the ramp given the parking difficulties, the limited time of water access and the deep community divide. It is still felt that Heros Beach is the only reserve that has sufficient space for parking, family recreation areas etc..

There was much discussion including questions about the effects of prevailing winds, the problems of retrieving at Shoal Bay, whether the bollards in the plan for Water Street could be removed, and whether the community wants money spent on the boat ramp or whether there is a higher priority.

Arlis Painter advised the meeting that a group of 12 people were seeking legal advice because they were so concerned about being trapped on peninsular in an emergency eg fire. Len Yeasley responded that cool burns every six years (rolling scheme every two years) help reduce amount of fuel.

David recognised that there is no principle evacuation point and this may be an avenue for getting state funding.Tony Hann asked why Medina Bay which seems to meet the need for deep water and is central to the village is not being considered. David replied that there was a problem of drain water, it is heavily treed, has only a 20 metre frontage and lacks turning space for vehicles. He mentioned it appears to lack the required parking space for six vehicles with trailers.

Reference was made to the letter from Ivy Stevenson (tabled) about buying two blocks with deep water frontage and David responded that Council could not afford it. He said that perhaps some agreement could be made if a developer looked at a new subdivision.

Julie Savage said that all sites had been rejected in the past and that a possible site may need to found outside the village.

6/1/2012 NACRA makes submission to Council Recreation Boating Strategy Review
This submission identifies a boat ramp as NACRA's first water-access priority.

23/8/2011 Great Lakes Council Meeting. Two members of NACRA's Boat Ramp/Water Access sub committee addressed Council
David Bortfield reported to council that Heros Bay may present the last opportunity for NAC for some time.

37 RESOLUTION (Moved L Roberts/Seconded C McCaskie)

A. That Council:
1. Provide support to the investigation of a possible boat ramp at Heros Bay Reserve, as presented in this report.
2. Consider the allocation of $8,000 toward this project in the 2011 September Quarterly Review.
3. Defer any design and investigation works until funding has been confirmed.
4. Undertake a full round of community consultations prior to any proposal being adopted.
B. That it be noted that making the above decision does not preclude council or the community from examining other sites if the opportunity arises

An amendment was moved by L Gill, seconded L Vaughan that the matter be deferred for another three years due to financial constraints of Council. This amendment was lost.
The motion was put to the vote and declared carried.

22/2/2011 Len Yearsley (on behalf of the North Arm Cove Residents' Association), addressed Council in support of the draft Landscape Plans for North Arm Cove, and the need for water access facilities. 201 RESOLUTION (Moved L Roberts/Seconded M Tuffy)

That Council:
1. Recognise the community consultation process associated with the draft Landscape Master Plans for Casuarina Reserve and Cove Boulevard Reserve on Eastslope Way.
2. Adopt the draft Landscape Master Plan with the amendments highlighted in this report.
3. Determine a proposed site within six months for a boat ramp in the North Arm Cove area.

The history of the efforts by NACRA to gain a public boat ramp dates back a great many years (decades in fact) and has involved enormous time and effort from many members, present and past, of NACRA. This document is a record of just some of the more recent major steps (i.e. from just the last two years) along the way on this project but even then it is by no means exhaustive. Because this is an on-going document there are multiple authors.


The first serious attempt at getting a ramp installed in the Cove was mounted by the Progress Association in 1994. The focus was on Medina Bay but the project stalled because of an effective campaign waged by the residents who would be most affected by the facility.

Nothing  has really changed since then. The options we have for the location of a ramp are the same. Medina Bay remains the only site which offers deep and sheltered water acces. That is of course unless a benevolent  developer suddenly appears - one who is prepared to give away a valuable site (such as Beauty Point) for a communal cause. Unlikely, I think. 

The issue therefore is, how do we progress with this long history of failure?

I believe that projects in the past have failed because the process was flawed. People are naturally suspicious of any suggestion of a public facility to be constructed near to where they live. They picture boat ramps for example as noisy, dirty and intrusive facilities which have the potential to destroy the very things that attracted them to the Cove in the first place. I think any fair minded person would sympathise.

So to have any chance of success, such concerns, where reasonable, need to be alleviated at the outset. This means:

  1. Showing respect for those most affected
  2. Understanding just what their concerns are and
  3. Making every effort to find proper solutions.

The people who will be most affected must be involved from the outset. They must be given genuine assurances that the project will only progress once the problems are resolved. They must know that they are part of the process and they must believe that the outcomes will improve their amenity, not destroy it.

It is not good enough just to say, "Well, you chose to live next to a public place, that's your problem". We are a community of supposedly intelligent and well-meaning people. Our pupose should be to work together to enhance each other's lives.

Tony Hann



I strongly support having a boat ramp in North Arm Cove.

Robert Bakhos

42 Point Circuit

North Arm Cove


Hi everyone. We do hope that you will all take advantage of this great opportunity to put your point of view. Doug has assembled an excellent potted history of boat ramp negotiiations for the pasy two years, although the issue has been going on for much longer than that. So please read it, and we look forward to some interesting and thought-provoking discussion. Cheers, Stephanie. (President, NACRA)




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