SLAP IN THE FACE: Weylin Zonruiter with a prized marlin catch aboard Reef Action Fishing Charters.
SLAP IN THE FACE: Weylin Zonruiter with a prized marlin catch aboard Reef Action Fishing Charters. Contributed

Charter boat operator condemns Harbour works

A YEPPOON-BASED fishing charter boat operator has joined a chorus of calls condemning a major works project underway at Rosslyn Bay Harbour.

At the weekend, Keppel MP Brittany Lauga moved to publicly reassure boaties that only one of the two boat ramps would be closed at a time, during $500,000 worth of harbour upgrades which also includes dredging and the construction of disability access toilets.

But a common thread of community concern and frustration centres around the simultaneous closure of the floating walkways that accompany each ramp.

Yesterday owner of Reef Action Fishing Charters, Craig Zonruiter, told The Morning Bulletin he could not understand why this had been done.

Charter boat operator Craig Zonruiter.
Charter boat operator Craig Zonruiter. Contributed

"I run a fishing charter out of Rosslyn Bay Harbour and we rely on the pontoons to secure our vessel while loading and unloading passengers and their gear,” he said.

"The notice issued to the public prior to works commencing was that there would be one ramp and pontoon repaired at a time to avoid problems with people securing and accessing their boats while they park 600m away.

"It honestly feels like a slap in the face to the fishing community.”

The Department of Transport and Main Roads (Queensland) said during the works, small charter boats and recreational boaties could also use one of the jetties in the north-eastern part of the harbour (see map) to drop off/pick up passengers.

BUREAUCRATIC ADVICE: The Department of Transport and Main Roads says small charter boats and recreational boaties can drop off/pick up passengers at one of the jetties in the north-eastern part of Rosslyn Bay Harbour while floating walkways are replaced at the existing ramps.
BUREAUCRATIC ADVICE: The Department of Transport and Main Roads says small charter boats and recreational boaties can drop off/pick up passengers at one of the jetties in the north-eastern part of Rosslyn Bay Harbour while floating walkways are replaced at the existing ramps. Contributed

But Mr Zonruiter said this alternative would not help his operation.

"The suggested jetty is not accessible to smaller boats near low tide so this complicates matters further,” he said.

The Morning Bulletin fishing writer Scott Lynch said having both floating walkways out of action at the same time, while they were replaced, caused numerous problems.

"They're crucial for loading people onto boats, mainly the elderly or disabled trying to get into bigger boats,” he said.

"Now one person can't go fishing by themselves, and the time it takes to put boats in and get them out is already a chaotic situation.

"Wait until this weekend when the weather forecast is favourable.

"There has been no consultation with anyone who knows anything about boating in the area.”

Reef Action Fishing Charters operator Weylin Zonruiter said in good weather there could be upwards of 30 boats trying to launch/retrieve at any given time.

"It's a fairly long wait with two ramps operating, let alone one, especially when there's no pontoon.”

The Department said the replacement of the floating walkways was required for safety reasons.

"We are progressing as quickly as possible so we don't impact the peak holiday season - and should be finished in late August,” it said in a statement.

Boating and fishing enthusiasts took to the department's Facebook page to vent their frustrations.

"The only thing they forgot was to actually leave one (floating walkway) in action,” Scott Gilluley said.

Paul Thompson said there was no perfect time to do the works but leaving one floating walkway fully-operational would have been a better outcome.

Jason Fitzgerald was happy to see the works being done.

"For a little bit of (a) delay, to have (the walkways) back to full use is better than (them) being unusable.”

The Morning Bulletin asked the Department specific questions about its consultation process and the closure of both floating walkways but had not received a response by deadline.



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