Tuna anglers are looking forward to next month’s opening of a four-lane boat ramp that is expected to ease the long delays in launching boats at Portland during peak fishing times.
Portland Sport and Game Fishing Club president Geoff Sturzaker said he believed the new ramp, to be officially opened on July 11, would be a great asset to the recreational fishing industry but anglers would not know if it was effective until the next peak period.
Mr Sturzaker said this year’s tuna season was tapering off and the ramp was not likely to come under heavy pressure until Christmas, when summer species such as kingfish drew big numbers of anglers to Portland.
He said he was heartened that government had acknowledged the big contribution that recreational angling made to Portland and surrounding areas by building the widened ramp. Portland Bait & Tackle owner Chris Hall said the new access should ease waiting times of up to 90 minutes to launch and two hours to load that anglers had encountered.
During Easter and the Queen’s Birthday long weekend, more than 300 boats launched each day from Portland, the long queue of cars with boats on trailers waiting to launch stretching for up to 1.5 kilometres from the ramp, Mr Hall said.
He expected most anglers would accept the new $10 a day parking fee for vehicles with boat trailers that will be imposed by Glenelg Shire Council as part of the upgrade.
However, Portland fishing enthusiast Bob McPherson objected to the parking fee, saying he believed anglers had already paid for the facilities through their fishing licences.
Mr McPherson said more toilets and better drainage in the area around the four new fish-cleaning tables were also needed.
More parking spaces for boat trailers were also required, he said.
The new foreshore precinct has spaces for 70 vehicles with boat trailers but provision has been made for another 100 in overflow areas that will be opened during peak fishing periods.
Glenelg Shire mayor John Northcott and Victorian Premier Denis Napthine will officially open the new Portland foreshore harbour precinct on July 11.
The area is expected to be available for use immediately afterwards.
However, the Portland foreshore parking strategy will come into place almost two weeks earlier on July 1.
It will apply to the present foreshore parking area until the new precinct is opened.
The daily pass parking fee for vehicles with boat trailers for 2014-2015 will be $10 a day.
The cost of an annual parking permit for vehicles with boat trailers is $110 from July 1 until June 30, 2015.
Glenelg Shire ratepayers and residents who are concession card holders can get a concessional annual permit for $55.