Community divided over Emu Park boat ramp development
It's rough waters in Emu Park at the moment, as the community remains divided on the placement of the proposed all-tide boat ramp.
TWO options for a boat ramp have been put forward by the Department of Transport and Main Roads, one on the southern end of Fisherman's Beach and the other "just south" of the same location.
The beach was identified as the preferred site for the new facility after a detailed site selection study in 2013, but the decision has left some locals unimpressed.
Emu Park resident Pam Tait formed the No Boat Ramp in Emu Park Town Centre group earlier this year, with the group protesting the location of the ramp.
In contrast, the Central Queensland Boat Ramp Action Group (CQBRAG) has been actively promoting the facility, with a particular focus on Option 1.
Below are letters from the different community group members.
Community engagement important
The proposed Emu Park Boat Ramp concepts at Fisherman's Beach have tongues wagging with many people for the proposal, some against and others in the middle. Clive King, President of Central Queensland Boat Ramp Action Group (CQBRAG) said it was great that the community was engaged on this important subject and he'd like to put forward solutions to some concerns and to offer suggestions so that all of the community benefits from this proposal.
"Firstly, traffic concerns. The proposal puts forward a 45 car and boat trailer facility. Most of these boaties will be placing their boat in the water between 4am and 7am, which is before some people are out of bed and not many people are on the roads," Clive said.
"Traffic of such a small number and early in the morning will have no negative effects for the community. And boaties come back in a staggered fashion, so I cannot see an issue here either. The Emu Park Markets and various festivals throughout the year, which are great for the community, have a significant influx of vehicles at Bell Park and around Emu Park but these events don't get moving until 7-8am onwards and no one has ever raised traffic at the events as a significant concern.
"There was a remark from the President of the Emu Park No Boat Ramp group recently indicating her concern that the facility was in the middle of Emu Park. Now the proposed boat ramp facility is really an extension to the existing boat ramp that is currently at the end of Hill Street, Emu Park.
"A core fundamental of building infrastructure is that where possible you build onto existing facilities, this is why we pushed hard for the Coorooman Creek extension, it makes sense financially to do so.
"Another issue raised was the actual construction period for the proposed boat ramp. CQBRAG has been informed that the build itself would take six months, however with general building there needs to be contingency added to this.
"The three to five years construction period mentioned is if all the ducks lined up and Ritamada was progressed. We need to note here that Ritamada has a significant ecological classification and planning alone may take three to five years before any construction is started.
"Parking has also been raised as an issue by some. My suggestion to the community is that currently there are approx 16 car and boat trailer parks at the end of Hill Street, with the construction of the new Emu Park Boat Ramp which has parking allocated on the facility boaties would only need five of the current Hill Street parks to remain for tractor trailer boaties. This would provide an additional 22 single car parks for the general community to use, as a car and boat trailer park can provide for two single car parks. Lastly boaties would be willing to give the entire Emu Park Boat Ramp (Fisherman's Beach) facility to the community to use for parking for the Festival of the Wind event. Boaties recognise the importance of this event and we can come to the party through the provision of the facility for this day.
"I ask those living in and around Emu Park that have not made up their minds on the subject, when was the last time the government wanted to put forward a project worth $11.4 million for our community? This is an economic stimulus we need to grab with both hands," Clive said.
Central Queensland Boat Ramp Action Group
The thin edge of the wedge
Having read the latest of Clive King's stories about the great benefits that a boat ramp at Emu Park would bring, I felt all warm and fuzzy until I snapped out of it and started to think clearly.
All the diagrams are concepts and will change. The idea of the Terms of Reference is for TMR to determine the Social and Economic Benefits and Impacts, not CQBRAG or their representatives. When I spoke to a TMR representative at the information day we were told there was little economic benefit to the community.
Here are some extracts from the TMR studies: Future expansion would require additional land-based parking facilities. Here is another gem: The only way to get facilities that are needed is one step at a time. An all-tide boat ramp is part of a longer term solution to address a shortage of infrastructure to service both locals and visitors. It sounds all very innocent but you don't spend $11 million for a couple of boat ramps. This was put to a TMR representative. He replied, "You have to start somewhere, we can put in another ramp later by removing a couple of car parks". This has been discussed. It was also indicated during the discussion that it was feasible to build another wall thus creating a marina the same way Rosslyn Bay Marina started.
What are we voting on - a Boat Ramp or stage one of the Emu Park Marina? Are they one and the same?
If this goes ahead the No Boat Ramp In Emu Park Group will need to change their name to No Marina in Emu Park.
Emu Park Resident
Why you must vote no
As far as our group (No Boat Ramp in Emu Park Town Centre) is concerned, Emu Park is the jewel of the Capricorn Coast. We would like it to remain that way. The town boasts one of the loveliest natural coastline areas to be found. Maybe that is why we choose to live here.
People treasure their village lifestyle with the opportunity to do all those things that you associate with living at the beach. Fisherman's Beach is a popular spot for visitors and locals alike. There are regular visitors from the southern climes that stay in Emu Park for three to five months each year and enjoy what Emu Park has to offer right now.
Yet all this is being put at risk by a group advocating that Fisherman's Beach, in the middle of our town, is just the place for an all-tide boat ramp. I reckon nothing could be further from the truth and, from the support I am gaining, many people agree with me. We want this area to maintain its lovely beach, its beautiful views, its village lifestyle and continue to enjoy what is here now. We don't need Fisherman's Beach changed. We need to ensure that everyone can enjoy one of the more popular places in Emu Park.
Our group is not convinced, and no concrete evidence has been forthcoming, that the building of a large boat ramp in the centre of town would be at all beneficial. There are claims of benefit but have yet to see them substantiated. We already receive regular visitors each day, each week, each month and each year. I speak to visitors who have just come down to enjoy what Emu Park offers - buying their coffee, having a meal, walking their dogs, enjoying the tranquillity of Bell Park, photographing the vista across to the islands - to name a few and we are not convinced that this aligns with having a boat ramp in the middle of town.
So, with no detailed environmental, social or economic impacts completed, we are being asked to decide if Fisherman's Beach is the place for an all-tide boat ramp. Issues such as the environmental impact, erosion risk, loss of rocky headland, impact on our village lifestyle have not been addressed so how can we be expected to make a decision without all the information? Therefore, I ask people to vote no to both proposals on the online survey on the TMR website or go to the Emu Park library for assistance.
Pam Tait, No Boat Ramp in Emu Park