Questions remain unanswered around a press release from Nationals MLC Ben Franklin’s office regarding a $2.8 million upgrade to the Brunswick Heads boat harbour.
According to his press release last week, berths will be replaced, while a ‘number of berths’ will be built.
Additionally Mr Franklin claims, ‘…tenders will be sought for design and construction work once survey investigations and stakeholder engagement is carried out’.
Yet it was news to Simon Freeden from Byron Bay Eco Cruises and Kayaks, who says he had been part of stakeholder meetings around the future of the marina, and was unaware of the announcement or any adoption of a masterplan for the area.
He told The Echo that for the last three to four years, around eight to ten stakeholders were in regular meetings with the NSW Crown Lands (DPIE).
‘We developed a masterplan for the harbour, got through the process, including all minor details, the community was on board… then it died in the bum’.
He says that the project appeared to be put on hold as a new government department was established.
According to RMS, The Maritime Infrastructure Delivery Office (MIDO) ‘is a joint initiative between [departments] to improve the co-ordination and delivery of coastal and boating infrastructure programs and projects across NSW.’
Mr Freeden says the community’s wishes for the space were for as ‘much open space as possible, with access to the foreshore all around’.
‘The government came back with plans for a single finger wharf, which was rejected by boaties and the community’.
He says the consensus was to maintain it, similar to what is it presently, but also to build floating pontoons.
‘I question whether more berths could be facilitated’, he said, adding that the Bruns river mouth is notoriously dangerous.
‘A speed limit is needed for the river,’ he said, and that the ‘8kn signs have been removed’.
Among unanswered questions to Mr Franklin was ‘How does this announcement fit in with the masterplan for the area, given there isn’t one adopted yet?’