New boat ramp may need cash injection from state
MACKAY’s new council will have to discuss whether construction of a controversial boat ramp will proceed.
Residents and businesses around Midge Point are pushing for the new ramp, claiming there is a negative impact on tourism and business in the region without it.
“We will have to have a discussion with the new council on whether they are willing to commit funds or not to this project, noting that this ramp is not one that was on this current council’s agreed priority list for the short to medium term,” Mayor Greg Williamson said.
“Our un-budgeted construction costs based on the preliminary report are just over $2 million.
“That would be a big call for council to make in the coming budget and it means that some other project already promised would have to be moved out.”
A lack of access to the water has meant boat owners have to drive 45 minutes north to Airlie Beach while businesses in the area that rely on tourism have lost revenue.
Following election promises during the 2017 state election, the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads committed $3 million towards the water-based component of the project.
But the council was responsible for the land-based component near the proposed boat ramp, including a road leading to the ramp and a car park.
Some residents have argued the road already there should suffice but the council is legally obliged to build a new road in the reserve, where there are some vegetation issues.
“My view … is that the new council will not want to see the State’s commitment to spend money on Midge Point disappear,” Cr Williamson said.
“One obvious solution would be to see extra funds of around $1 million from the state this election year to help the project proceed.”