Launch time

Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough - - GARDENING -

A fully re­stored boat ramp is back in busi­ness af­ter get­ting a much­needed makeover.

The boat launch­ing site at Portage in the Kenepuru Sounds was in des­per­ate need of restora­tion af­ter 25 years of sea wa­ter and waves took their toll.

Af­ter three days of work, the ramp is ship shape and ready for use. It is the first com­mu­nity project to be fin­ished as part of the Marl­bor­ough Dis­trict Coun­cil’s Small Town­ships Pro­gramme.

Work­ing with coun­cil, mem­bers of the Kenepuru and Cen­tral Sounds Res­i­dents As­so­ci­a­tion joined Royal Portage Bay Boat Club mem­bers to bring the old boat ramp back to its for­mer glory.

Kenepuru and Cen­tral Sounds Res­i­dents As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Ross Withell says the im­prove­ments are very wel­come as the ramp gets a lot of use over the sum­mer months when the car park be­comes packed with boat trail­ers.

‘‘The strong westerly storms that come through here had bro­ken off some of the con­crete over the years and there was a se­vere drop-off where peo­ple were back­ing down to launch their boats.

‘‘We had to do the work in win­ter as there can be up to 20 peo­ple at a time try­ing to launch or re­trieve their boats here in the sum­mer. It’s a very pop­u­lar spot,’’ he says. A proac­tive and widely sup­ported group, the as­so­ci­a­tion ap­plied to the coun­cil for com­mu­nity fund­ing for the project which Ross says cost be­tween $2000 and $3000.

The group also re­lied on the ex­per­tise of com­mu­nity mem­bers to help bring the ea­gerly-awaited project to fruition.

‘‘One of our com­mu­nity had a dig­ger we used to help dig trenches around the ramp and an­other was a re­tired builder.

‘‘It looks ex­cel­lent and the com­mu­nity sup­port from peo­ple around here was great,’’ he says.

Projects that pro­vide for new or im­proved out­door pub­lic spa­ces are el­i­gi­ble to ap­ply for fund­ing un­der the small town­ships ini­tia­tive.

PHOTO: AMIR CO­HEN/REUTERS

Mod­ern day rid­ers mark the 95th an­niver­sary of the Bat­tle of Beer­sheba by dress­ing in bat­tle fa­tigues.

PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Con­crete is poured on the Portage boat ramp.

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