A year-long study of wave patterns will help shape a multi-million-dollar upgrade of the Warrnambool harbour.
Considered the next stage in plans to transform the Lady Bay breakwater area into a premier boating facility, the $45,000 study was revealed by South West Coast MP and Minister for Ports Denis Napthine and Warrnambool City Council.
A submersible tide and wave recorder will be used to gather accurate data.
Last year councillors voted to err on the side of caution when plans for the development were revealed because of uncertainty over how nature would behave around the proposed harbour structure.
Speaking to The Standard, mayor Michael Neoh said council wanted to make sure any upgrade wouldn’t be swept away by the Southern Ocean.
“The study is going to verify the correct option,” Cr Neoh said. “If there’s a project that’s going to proceed we’re going to need to know the impact on the environment.”
He said a previous wave study conducted over just three weeks had failed to provide answers.
Consultants have suggested two options to the council, with a $6 million price tag.
They include either a single wall at the end of the breakwater or a groyne running off the foreshore, which would shelter the marina from ocean surges.
Both led to a flood of support last year with 350 positive submissions to council.
Some professional fishing groups have signalled their impatience over delays in delivering the upgrade following years of campaigning.
The council is now working with Warrnambool Offshore and Light Game Fishing Club to come up with a final blueprint.
Long-serving club member Neville Dance described the study as a step in the right direction, but conceded works were still years off.
“I’m pleased that council is proceeding in a forward direction,” Mr Dance said.
“I’m hoping that we’re getting closer and closer to a Warrnambool safe boating harbour.”
He said fishermen would also have to wait at least two years on outcomes of environmental and financial feasibility studies. The council has committed $9000 to the wave study, while the state government has funded the remaining $36,000.
Dr Napthine talked up the study. “This study will help inform redevelopment designs for the harbour by deploying a submersible tide and wave recorder. It will be used to produce a 10-year retrospective report on wave conditions,” he said.