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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Hinchinbrook behind on boating upgrades

SEVERAL fishing and boating facilities in the Hinchinbrook electorate have been identified for upgrades the long-awaited Recreational Boating Facilities Demand Forecasting Study 2022 has revealed.

The study was only made available after a parliamentary question on notice by Hinchinbrook MP, Nick Dametto last month prompted the Transport and Main Roads Department to release the report.

The study, undertaken in 2022, is designed to identify the current and future demand for recreational boating facilities throughout Queensland.

The results are not binding and are purely recommendations based off the gathered data.

Upgrades are then categorised into priorities with 1 meaning immediate planning and design while 2, 3 and 4 are for 5-10, 10-15 and 15-20 years respectively.

According to Mr Dametto, one in three Hinchinbrook residents owned a boat and therefore adequate boating infrastructure was a top necessary to improve liveability within the electorate.

“To discover only one facility in Hinchinbrook received a priority one recommendation is not ideal for an electorate that depends on marine access, he said.

The study has identified the Dungeness boat ramp at Lucinda as the region’s priority boating facility with future demand requiring a third floating walkway and a new ramp lane constructed in conjunction with a reconstructed sea wall.

The high demand of the Lucinda facility was contributed to the high number of visiting vessels that utilise the facilities.

“I know locals have become frustrated when the current ramp becomes congested and they have every reason to, the facilities must be upgraded to cope with high visitor numbers,” Mr Dametto said.

“Lucinda is well known for its convenient access to the offshore reefs and the Palm Islands group, but during peak times launching at Lucinda has become dangerous because of the increase in boat and ramp traffic.

“The local tourist industry and businesses rely on the significant economic boost that comes with visitors, which is why this ramp should be fit for purpose.”

The study also included boat ramps at the Hull River (Hull Heads), Taylors Beach (Ingham) and Stony Creek (Bushland Beach) that were identified as priority two recommendations.

It was suggested that all three locations require additional car parks with the Hull River and Taylors Beach needing an additional boat ramp lane if they were to keep up with demand.

Cassady Creek (Ingham) received a priority three listing for a new two-lane boat ramp with a centralised floating walkway, turnaround area and 35 parking spaces.

“Port Hinchinbrook received a priority four listing for dredging and all-tidal access, however the reasons behind this are made clear in the report and it is important to note that this does not impact on the emergency dredging project currently in the hands of the Cassowary Coast Regional Council,” Mr Dametto said.

“It was disappointing to see that some previous recommendations made in the 2017 study have now been abandoned.”

Mr Dametto said he would have liked to see projects like Cattle Creek, Yuruga – Bemerside – Lucinda (in the form of a new harbour and major boating facility) and the Bohle River, Burdell remain on the list.

“The study has deemed Forrest Beach boat ramp not suitable for upgrades despite significant stakeholder input,” Mr Dametto said.

“The study concluded that Forrest Beach residents would be better served by focusing on improvements to facilities at Cassady Creek.

“This study will become an important tool for lobbying the State Government, I aim to work closely with each of our local councils to progress these projects.

“My message to the government is clear, studies are not worth the paper they are printed on unless they lead to concrete and steel coming out of the ground, and until then I know that the Hinchinbrook boating community won’t be satisfied.”

The full Recreational Boating Facilities Demand Forecasting Study 2022 can be found here.

Keep up with the latest news and check out some of our top stories this week: New craft brewery on southside is hopping and Drunken kayaker arrested.

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