Boat ramp still a sore point for long-time lo­cals

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - Shane Ni­chols

NO­BODY, it seems, is be­ing served well by the boat ramp at Rocky Point – boat­ies and fish­er­men find it un­safe, and other people are con­cerned about its ef­fect on sand move­ments along the coast, which they say are adding to fore­shore ero­sion north of Rocky Point as far as Cape Kim­ber­ley.

Mem­ber for Cook David Kemp­ton has the distinc­tion of be­ing the only state politi­cian to go on­site and dis­cuss the prob­lems with con­cerned lo­cals over the past 30 years or so, ac­cord­ing to the lo­cals.

Re­cently he did just that, at the re­quest of Mark ‘‘Scrub­ber’’ Har­ris of Rocky Point, and met with about 15 people to dis­cuss the prob­lems at Rocky Point. This is his fourth visit to the site to lis­ten to the lo­cals.

With him was Dar­ryl Jones, prin­ci­pal project man­ager (TIDS and Ma­rine), Depart­ment of Trans­port and Main Roads, who passed around a model sketch of a pos­si­ble so­lu­tion to the prob­lem at the boat ramp. This work en­vis­aged a spend of about $1 mil­lion.

But 30 min­utes or more of dis­cus­sion served to show Mr Kemp­ton that the cur­rent boat ramp was hav­ing a poor ef­fect in more ways than one, and the pro­posed so­lu­tion was un­likely to solve the prob­lem for fish­er­men or en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists.

Hav­ing ex­plored these com­plex­i­ties, with the help of lo­cals in­clud­ing Robert Hanan and David Cook, Mr Kemp­ton said the boat ramp was the re­spon­si­bil­ity of TMR, how­ever the beach ero­sion is­sue was a sep­a­rate mat­ter he would in­ves­ti­gate fur­ther.

‘‘I will ask the Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Her­itage to look at this is­sue as well as the DTMR,’’ he said, ac­knowl­edg­ing that the beach ero­sion was a corol­lary of the sit­u­a­tion at Rocky Point.

The boat ramp was built in 1985. Its de­sign is be­ing blamed for the loss of sand flow to the north and it seems there are no sim­ple, cheap so­lu­tions.

‘‘I think it will take more time to work out,’’ Mr Kemp­ton said. ‘‘And there is more at play here than just a boat ramp.’’

Mr Har­ris thanked Mr Kemp­ton for pay­ing a fur­ther visit to the site. ‘‘He’s the only politi­cian who has ever taken a look at it,’’ he said.

Bruce Rob­bie has been cam­paign­ing for re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of the Rocky Point fore­shore for decades. He was born in Moss­man and grew up at Rocky Point. He can re­mem­ber when the sand level was a me­tre higher than it is now and the beach was much more ex­ten­sive.

He, wife Anne, and his brother Doug were at the meet­ing. Bruce is so pas­sion­ate about it ‘‘I’m scared he’ll have a stroke’’, said Anne. So was he happy with the out­come of the meet­ing? ‘‘Not at all,’’ he said. ‘‘I’ve seen it all be­fore. But I must be op­ti­mistic,’’ he said, un­con­vinc­ingly.

ROCKY:

MP David Kemp­ton (cen­tre) with lo­cals who turned up for the boat ramp meet­ing at Rocky Point

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