Pro­posal for new launch fa­cil­i­ties to meet de­mand

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - AN­DREW BACKHOUSE an­drew. back­house1@ news. com. au

THERE is a short­fall of boat­ing fa­cil­i­ties in the Townsville re­gion and de­mand is only set to in­crease.

A re­port pub­lished by the De­part­ment of Trans­port and Main Roads iden­ti­fied that new fa­cil­i­ties should be built in the growth ar­eas of the Townsville north­ern beaches and Al­li­ga­tor Creek.

It also pre­dicted there would be 19,367 boat own­ers liv­ing in the Townsville City Coun­cil area by 2036.

The de­part­ment rec­om­mended a new $ 2.76 mil­lion fa­cil­ity be built on the Bohle River within five years.

The two- lane ramp would fea­ture a float­ing walk­way and 45 car- trailer unit spa­ces.

The pro­posed new fa­cil­ity at Al­li­ga­tor Creek would in­clude a four- lane ramp with float­ing walk­way and 90 CTU spa­ces.

Fore­casts show that in­fra­struc­ture is needed in the next 10 years.

About 7 per cent of res­i­dents in the Townsville area own boats.

Bul­letin fish­ing colum­nist Ed­die Rid­dle, who runs Ed­die Rid­dle’s Fish City Char­ters, said the two new ramps would be wel­comed by the lo­cal fish­ing com­mu­nity.

But he said the Al­li­ga­tor Creek project should get pri­or­ity.

Mr Rid­dle said the Bohle River was over­fished from boaters us­ing the ex­ist­ing ramp in that area.

“Putting an­other ramp into that sys­tem would com­pound the prob­lem,” he said.

“And it’s not a sys­tem that’s open to the sea on a reg­u­lar ba­sis.”

Mr Rid­dle said fish­er­men would pre­fer the Al­li­ga­tor Creek op­tion, which would also serve the neigh­bour­ing creeks and of­fer bet­ter open­wa­ter ac­cess.

Bill Green, who reg­u­larly launches his boat from the Coast Guard ramp in Townsville, said he found it dif­fi­cult to ac­cess Al­li­ga­tor Creek and other creeks in the sur­round­ing area.

He said a boat ramp with pub­lic ac­cess in Al­li­ga­tor Creek would give boat­ies more ac­cess to creeks and the open ocean.

The big­gest prob­lems Townsville boat­ies face at lo­cal ramps are the travel time from launches to the open wa­ter and the se­cu­rity of ve­hi­cles at boat ramps.

There is a lack of light­ing and sur­veil­lance in carpark­ing ar­eas at sev­eral pop­u­lar ramps, with ve­hi­cles bro­ken in to or van­dalised while the own­ers are out on their ves­sels.

Travel times are also a con­cern as the new Townsville Recre­ational Boat­ing Park is fur­ther from open­wa­ter than the pop­u­lar Sir Les­lie Thiess Drive fa­cil­ity in Ross Creek.

The re­gion’s pop­u­la­tion is ex­pected to in­crease to 288,593 by 2036 and there is sig­nif­i­cant de­mand for recre­ational boat­ing in­fra­struc­ture as a re­sult of tourism.

There are there are 20 boat ramp fa­cil­i­ties in the Townsville area, con­tain­ing 41 boat ramp lanes.

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