Boat ramp still a sore point for long-time locals
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.
MP David Kempton (centre) with locals who turned up for the boat ramp meeting at Rocky Point