CQ boaties spitting chips over boat ramp congestion
IF THE weather is great, Capricorn Coast boaties routinely run the gauntlet of boat ramp congestion, parking shortages and parking fines.
Keen recreational fisherman and President Central Queensland Boat Action Group (CQBRAG) Clive King, has been battling to turn the situation around at Rosslyn Bay boat ramp for 11 years now.
"People were being patient in waiting for their turn to launch and retrieve but nothing prepared those that couldn't get a designated park and had to park on the roadside,” Mr King said.
"Each one was gifted with a $50 fine.
"Sadly several tourists who spend lots and lots of money here in our region at this time of year were so annoyed they vowed not to return.”
Mr King, 55, has lived in Emu Park since 2003 and said it wasn't a good look for a region which should be doing everything in its power to maximise its tourism marketability.
"We want tourists to come to the Capricorn Coast but the message they get sent to them in a busy time like last weekend, is that we're not open for business,” Mr King said.
"We'll send them away with fines for illegal parking when the state government has caused the issue in the first place by not providing more marine infrastructure on the Capricorn Coast.”
He believes adding to the marina's existing 300 car parks wasn't an appropriate solution.
"The extra car parking at Rosslyn Bay isn't going to fix the problem,” he said.
"What we need is diversification. We need another ramp at another location so as we can cut out the bottleneck effect that we've got at Rosslyn Bay harbour.
"It is at capacity with only two ramps at one location to access Keppel Bay waters for the likes of our local people with 9800 boat registrations for the Central Queensland area.”
According to Mr King, new businesses such as Pro Fishing Guides were reluctant to commence as we are not providing and are desperately lacking in marine infrastructure in order to provide access to Keppel Bay.
He said by having another ramp at another location, like at Fisherman's Beach would give people a choice when they were deciding whether to go north, south or east.
"Another boat ramp at Fisherman's Beach at Emu Park would be the perfect answer,” Mr King said.
"We did a study in 2012/2013 and it showed 76% of the voting population said Fisherman's Beach was the preferred location.
"People have made the complaints to us and also to social media, there's been massive call for it and nothing's been done because we had a bit of opposition from the public at Emu Park.”
As a result of this Emu Park opposition, which was reflected in a 2016 survey result, the new $11.4m project, which was "funded” and "ready to go in”, was scrapped by the Queensland Government.
"I believe Brittany Lauga should now overturn her decision that she made on the last study done on Fisherman's Beach and if not, to conduct another survey,” he said.
"Mrs Lauga has announced herself and her Government are to spend $3.4million on upgrades to Thompson's Point and Corbett's Landing.
"Neither of these facilities have direct access to Keppel Bay.”
He said the government's plan to provide extra car/trailer parks at a site behind the service station at the Harbour would also not fix the problem.
"It will only be a recipe for future additional dilemmas in the water, upon launch and retrieve.”
He also rubbished the suggestion that Ritamada could be a site to consider for a marina style development given the studies completed in 2012/2013 showed that the site has marine hazards, seagrass beds and native title.
Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga responded saying the facilities at Rosslyn Bay were of high quality and served the purpose for the vast majority of recreational users.
"The Palaszczuk Government has plans to resume another patch of land adjacent the current car parking spaces at Rosslyn Bay car park to increase the number of boat/trailer parks,” Mrs Lauga said.
"Last year the Palaszczuk Government spent some $500,000 in a massive upgrade to the Coorooman Creek ramp, doubling the width and increasing the number of car parks.
"Likewise Nerimbera boat ramp was increased from two to four lanes to provide long-term benefits for the community at a cost of $451,000 carried out by local contractors.”
She said there was work also being considered for a new two-lane ramp plus floating walkway at Thompson's Point access.
"Another of the upgraded facilities on the Capricorn Coast was at the Causeway Lake facility at Mulambin which saw the facilities brought up to current standards and have greatly improved safety,” she said.
"It has also made launching and retrieval of vessels easier for recreational boaties.
"Mrs Lauga said this is where the Queensland Government's Marine Infrastructure Fund plays a very important role in prioritising key regional boat ramp upgrades for Queenslanders.
"There are 5,000 boaties in the Rockhampton Regional Council area and over 15,000 in surrounding council areas so these upgraded facilities will go a long way in helping meet the demand.”
The Department of Transport and Main Roads said parking was managed across regional state managed boat harbours following a three step process.
First time offenders were educated with an official letter placed on their vehicle advising they are parked illegally.
Second time offenders received an official "Authorised Officer (AO) Direction” sticker affixed to their windscreen and repeat offenders were issued with a Penalty Infringement Notice (PIN) which was worth $243.80.
Records indicate that only official letters have been issued for parking offences in Rosslyn Bay as no boat harbour user has offended a second time.
It's understood infringement tickets outside of the harbour jurisdiction are being issued are by police. The Queensland Police Service yesterday referred enquiries to the local council, who referred the matter to the Queensland Government.
Livingstone Shire Mayor Bill Ludwig has been contacted for comment.