SPEAKING FROM THE HEART: Kevin Collins and Bob Spes chaired the meeting for better boat ramps. Photo Sharon Smallwood / Whitsunday Times
SPEAKING FROM THE HEART: Kevin Collins and Bob Spes chaired the meeting for better boat ramps. Photo Sharon Smallwood / Whitsunday Times

Boat ramp pressure on politicians

 

MORE than 100 people packed into Cannonvale's Volunteer Marine Rescue (VMR) building for Tuesday's meeting about boat ramps.

"I couldn't get this many people for free rum," said local businessman Kevin Collins, who together with Whitsunday Fishing World proprietor Bob Spees, chaired the meeting and invited local and state government personnel to speak.

Whitsunday MP Jan Jarratt, LNP candidate Jason Costigan, LNP shadow minister for main roads, fisheries and marine infrastructure Mark Robinson and Katter's Australian Party candidate Amanda Camm, talked from a state government perspective about what could be done.

Ms Jarratt said the state government had now provided $50,000 to progress the feasibility study for the construction of a breakwater at VMR.

"That work has begun and will be completed by mid-May. We hope at the end of that process to have a design and costings," Ms Jarratt said.

Members of the crowd asked Ms Jarratt to fight for more funding. 

"That's something I will do when we know what we're up for," she said.

Each of the other state government representatives spoke sympathetically about the problem, promising to work on it if elected. Katter party candidate Amanda Camm announced that Bob Katter himself will visit the VMR, this Sunday at 1pm.

On a local level, speakers included Council's deputy mayor Rogin Taylor and mayoral candidates Jennifer Whitney and Tony Maine. Cr Taylor said Council had a lengthy meeting with the Port of Airlie receivers about getting the development's three-lane ramp and 80 car parking spaces open as soon as possible.

"It's a public liability issue. It's not a problem with the boat ramp, which has been completed. It's not a problem with the carpark. It's a paper nightmare that cannot be resolved," he said.

At the end of the day, Bob Spees said he and his cohorts would not give up the fight, with a boat ramp committee due to be formed by next week.

"We nearly lost a six-year-old girl on Boxing Day," he said.

"I'm just disgusted with the whole thing."

Comments from the public

"This is a safety argument. It's a tourism argument and it's an economic argument. We see accidents out here everyday. Don't wait for somebody to get killed. Jan we need more money than $50,000."

Robin Salmon - President of VMR Whitsunday

"You're either going to lose a car, or a boat or a person if it's just left as it is."

Susan Anderson

"Why don't we just flog it [the sports park] and use the money to build this?"

Tom Mannings

"Would you close two hospitals before you built another one? They've closed two boat ramps but they haven't built another one yet."

Steve Tween

"There were better and more boating facilities in this town 20 years ago."

Richard Draper

"There seemed to be a lot of talk but no action." Paul Noble


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