Boat ramp proposal needs to float

HINCHINBROOK MP Nick Dametto has called for the State Government to get on board with a proposal for an all-weather boat ramp and jetty at Forrest Beach.

Excited with the prospect of regional development, Mr Dametto said he supported the facility concept, which is being championed by members of the Forrest Beach Recreational Boating and Tourism Committee and Hinchinbrook Chamber of Commerce.

Mr Dametto said working with the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) and geotechnical engineers would be vital in ensuring the design of such a facility would have a long-term, sustainable future.

“I fully support the boat ramp and jetty concept put forward by the committee as Forrest Beach’s existing boat ramp offers no protection from rough weather and lacks all tidal access,” he said.

“The next step is to develop a business plan and case study to ensure its viability and economic benefits to the community. We need TMR to fully investigate the committee’s new design proposal to ensure that it is workable for local boaties and will only require minimal maintenance in the decades to come.”

The committee’s proposed model features a 200m-long double lane jetty that allows for boat launching at the lowest tide of the year, maximum protection provided by a wave-breaking rock wall, access for recreational fishing, safe harbour for our local Coast Guard and other emergency services.

“I believe there will be substantial economic benefits from an increase in visitations from recreational boaties wanting to use the new ramp and the design may also see opportunities for local tourism and commercial operators to moor their vessels, providing quick access to the Palm Island Group, Yanks Jetty and the Great Barrier Reef,” Mr Dametto said.

A community survey conducted earlier this year by the committee found 887 of the 908 respondents supported the proposed facility and its location, while 21 were supportive of the facility but against its proposed location.

Mr Dametto said it was clear there was strong public support for a new boat ramp and jetty at Forrest Beach, with the challenge now being how to design, fund and construct it.

“To have the best chance of securing State Government funding for this project, it is critical we get the business case study right,” he said.

“For this proposed boat ramp facility to work, we need a well-engineered design that ensures we’re not creating future problems with sediment build up on the southern end of the proposed facility’s rock wall, as sand moves in a south to north direction along our coast.

“The committee assures me the current design will work but I would like to bring in the geotechnical experts to have a better look at this.

“I will continue to work with all stakeholders including the committee, council and the State Government on developing this project further.”

Nick Dametto MP