Tuross fishers are used to launching their boats in inadequate depths of water, but they don’t accept the present conditions.
That’s the message to Eurobodalla Shire Council from the Tuross Head Progress Association.
The association had hoped council would dredge the boat ramp and Lavender Bay before last Christmas.
Council’s roads and recreation director Warren Sharpe said he had been prepared to dredge the area as requested, but sand movement rendered the plans useless.
“Any minor dredging work is likely to have been ineffective due to the relatively high velocities and movement of sand in the vicinity of this area,” he said.
Mr Sharpe wrote to the group on March 1 promising to “monitor the situation”, although he noted that the boat ramp was “heavily used over the Christmas period with many fishermen enjoying the pleasure of the Tuross Lake”.
Not so, according to the association.
“There is no doubt that those fishermen who managed to launch their boats in the recent holiday period were satisfied with their fishing successes but there were many more who complained about the inadequacy of water depth at the boat ramp, a significant number saying that they would not be returning to Tuross Head for their holiday fishing,” spokesman Lei Parker said.
“Should they not return, the reduced number of fishing tourists will have a serious impact on local business income for years to come.”
The group followed their letter with a submission to council’s most recent finance and services meeting.
Coila resident Jeff de Jager spoke on the association’s behalf.
“Fishermen say if it’s not fixed, we’re not coming back next time,” he said.
In dredging the area, the group also wants council to adopt the most successful technique.
“Anecdotally, several members commented on past successes when dredging was conducted east to west, roughly in parallel with a line between Sandy Point and the face of the ramp,” Mr Parker said.
“Tidal action in such a channel tends to self-scour the ramp area rather than fill it as happens when a more north to south direction is followed by the dredge.”
Mr Sharpe said that was much easier to do, previously.
“There was very little sand,” he said. “We would dredge every few years as the lake was starting to close. We’re in a different situation now.”
The group says the situation is a “pressing concern” and council must provide dredging prior to the next holiday period if nature doesn’t fix the problem first.
“With permits from State Government agencies, the access to the immediate boat ramp was deepened by an excavator on December 21, 2007,” Mr Sharpe said, “at a cost of $11,779.
“At the time the tidal movement was low and the channel created effective. But the circumstances changed dramatically after the February floods last year, and again in April this year.
“We have agreed to meet with association representatives onsite but we have not recommended dredging ... nor have funds been allocated.”