COFFS Harbour boaties can rest easy in the knowledge their long awaited boat ramp redevelopment is edging closer and is set to get more cash.

An extra $4 million, on top of the previously promised $10 million, will go towards upgrading the boat ramp to six lanes, extending the breakwater by 75m, installing new pontoons and extending the parking area.

The extra money was part of ‘fast-tracked’ maritime upgrades which formed part of the NSW Government’s stimulus plan to help communities recover from the economic fallout from coronavirus.

Joining Transport Minister Andrew Constance at the announcement this morning, Coffs Harbour MP Gurmesh Singh said the detailed design for the upgrades, including the extra funding, would now go ahead with the first step being the extensions to the breakwall and ramp.

Coffs Harbour MP Gurmesh Singh and Transport Minister Andrew Constance with Coffs Harbour Regional Boat Ramp Precinct Enhancement Committee chair John Lawler and deputy chair Geoff Parker.
Coffs Harbour MP Gurmesh Singh and Transport Minister Andrew Constance with Coffs Harbour Regional Boat Ramp Precinct Enhancement Committee chair John Lawler and deputy chair Geoff Parker.

“This additional funding will allow for the second stage of the project to be brought forward, including upgrading the car and trailer parking, realignment of the access road and entrance, and upgrading features such as fish cleaning tables,” he said.

Recreational fishers have fought hard for an upgrade to the ramp, which has been plagued with issues including a shallow sandbar which, despite being intermittently dredged, has resulted in boats being damaged or washed onto the rocks.

Ahead of the 2019 NSW State Election, a redevelopment was all but secured when both major parties committed to funding the project if they were elected.

It led Deputy Premier John Barilaro to defend the timing of the announcement, just weeks out from the election, by referring to himself as ‘John Porkbarilaro’ for securing infrastructure projects for regional NSW.

The site has also been the subject of controversy following a public stoush between the retiring member for Coffs Harbour, Andrew Fraser and Coffs Harbour City Council over a $1 million grant to improve the ramp which was secured in 2014.

Mr Fraser claimed money intended for boat ramp improvements were diverted to fund roadworks along Jordan Esplanade, a claim refuted by Council general manager Steve McGrath who said Mr Fraser appeared to be “ignorant of the facts”.


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