LONG BATTLE: This 2015 photo shows Keith Smith and Clive King campaigning for a new boat ramp at Emu Park.
LONG BATTLE: This 2015 photo shows Keith Smith and Clive King campaigning for a new boat ramp at Emu Park. Chris Ison ROK061015cboatramp3

Time for CQ boaties to speak up or shut up

IT'S an issue that passionate anglers like Michael Griffin and Clive King are determined won't be "the one that got away”.

And they expect their calls for a new all-tide, blue-water access boat ramp on the Capricorn Coast to grow louder in numbers when another public forum is held on the matter next month.

"Another” is the topical word as this is far from a new issue and these types of forums have been held many times before with little success.

The latest renewal comes on the back of a fishing community backlash to the removal of two floating pontoons at Yeppoon's Rosslyn Bay Harbour last month.

The simultaneous closure of the pontoons for replacement (one has since re-opened) outraged boaties who said there was already enough pressure on the Harbour's two ramps which are the only two all-tide, blue-water access facilities servicing the rapid-growth Capricorn Coast area.

It resulted in Keppel MP Brittany Lauga issuing a public apology to boaties and voicing her disappointment to the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) over the way the works were handled.

Emu Park resident Mr Griffin said he and fellow local boating enthusiasts had since met with Mrs Lauga who had given "in principle” support to the public forum at the Emu Park Cultural Centre (9 Hill Street) on September 9, from 7pm.

A 2016 photo of boats lined up to use ramp facilities at Rosslyn Bay Harbour.
A 2016 photo of boats lined up to use ramp facilities at Rosslyn Bay Harbour. Contributed RCC

"We met with Brittany a few weeks ago and there was agreement in the group that a public forum would be the best avenue forward to gauge how people felt about the issue now,” he said.

"Out of that we'll chart a course forward.”

Mr Griffin conceded the time had come for boaties to speak-up or hold their peace.

"It's now time for people who want another all-tide, blue-water access boat ramp at the Coast to come and show their support.

"The Member will be there, and a number of other dignitaries have been invited, so we want to urge those powers that be to take some positive action as soon as possible to alleviate the situation.”

Mr Griffin said the Rosslyn Bay Harbour facilities were very good but so well-used that during periods of good weather it was almost impossible to launch there because of congestion.

"The queuing and lack of parking are real issues and prompt the need for something else to be built on the Coast.”

Mrs Lauga has previously highlighted that in 2016, TMR undertook detailed community consultation regarding a proposed all-tide boat ramp at Emu Park's Fisherman's Beach - but that had found the majority of the town's residents and the Livingstone Shire more broadly did not support such a facility at that location.

Today Mrs Lauga said: "I'm supportive of the forum to hear from the community and gauge whether there is a change in community sentiment with respect of a boat ramp at Fisherman's Beach.

"The boat ramp action group strongly believes that there has been a change to community sentiment.

"I don't believe that there has been, but I'm willing to listen and hear from the community.”

For 11 years Clive King, former president of the CQ Boat Ramp Action Group, campaigned for a new ramp on the Cap Coast and he still remains part of the drive.

Last month a report released by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries revealed the number of anglers in Central Queensland had risen by 12,800 in the past 12 months to 35,300.

READER'S VIEW: Alternate ideas for Emu Park boat ramp



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