New pontoon needed


SIX months have passed since wild weather destroyed the floating pontoon at the Volunteer Marine Rescue (VMR) boat ramp in Cannonvale but it has not been fixed.

Members of the boating community are now calling for something to be done.

Boat enthusiast and VMR member William Kamsteeg said the floating pontoon, which was destroyed on February 12, was long overdue for replacement.

"It's a public thing so it should be given priority. It's taken such a long time," he said.

"It's just left to rot."

VMR vice president Terry Lawn said the feeling was mutual among members.

About 50 boats were damaged or destroyed in the wild weather in February.

Mr Kamsteeg said boat owners dealt with the problem quickly, by having the vessels removed and repaired in the weeks that followed.

He said Council should have followed suit.

"This is a boating mecca and the facilities aren't up to scratch," he said.

"Airlie Beach desperately is in need of good facilities."

Mr Kamsteeg said there were safe boat ramps at Shute Harbour and Abel Point Marina, but they often became extremely busy.

Mr Lawn said ideally a sea wall would be developed to shelter the area from strong northerly winds, but a replacement pontoon would alleviate some of the problem.

Whitsunday Regional Council's Technical Officer for Infrastructure Services, Peter Jeffries, said Council's hands were tied on the matter.

He said the reinstatement of the ramp had been included in a flood damage claim that was being processed by the State Government.

"Until the claim is approved, Council is not in a position to reinstate the facility," he said.

A council spokesperson said the replacement pontoon would cost about $150,000 an amount that was not budgeted for.

The spokesperson said council had gathered information about replacement pontoons in preparation for the approval of the claim.

"There is nothing further council can do at this stage except be ready to go when it is all approved," the spokesperson said.


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