Harbour wait: mayor says no rush on Lady Bay upgrade

BOAT enthusiasts hoping for a quick decision from Warrnambool City Council on a proposed $6 million Lady Bay harbour upgrade will have to cool their heels.

New mayor Michael Neoh has revealed there may be another consultant’s study and community submissions to determine potential environmental implications if a safe boating marina was built.

“It’s not as simple as pushing a button and saying let’s proceed,”  he said.

“This issue is not just about having the will to do it, but making sure we get it right. I don’t think the wider community wants us to rush it.”

Boat owners and anglers are keen to see some action on the Safer Boating and Harbour Facility Study proposals, which received 350 submissions in support and 10 submissions against earlier this year.

They are frustrated by years of inadequate launching facilities which have been blamed for low patronage and lost tourism income.

Neville Dance, a Warrnambool Offshore and Light Game Fishing Club veteran and member of the harbour study community advisory group, said there were fears further long delays on an upgrade could cause funding opportunities to be lost.

“My biggest concern  is that by the time the council goes through its approval process government grants now available may be closed off,” he said.

“The council agreed in principle to pursue an upgrade, but now there’s a move  for another study to determine on-going running costs.”

Cr Neoh said the new council team would be briefed on the background before deciding project priorities for the next four years.

“It’s not a matter of being bogged down, but it’s important to know the full costs and environmental impacts of the harbour proposal,” he said.

“We need to be able to line up all the funding ducks from the three levels of government — look at how long it took to get funding for the Lighthouse Theatre redevelopment.”

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