$88,200 to fund floating pontoons for fishermen behind Warrnambool's former woollen mill

Robert O’Neill and Barry Johnson, of the Warrnambool angling club, at the proposed fishing pontoon site.
Robert O’Neill and Barry Johnson, of the Warrnambool angling club, at the proposed fishing pontoon site.

THE waters behind the old woollen mill are set to become a new a fishing hotspot. 

Members of the Warrnambool and District Angling Club were on hand yesterday to hear of a funding injection for new facilities along this stretch of the Merri River. 

Two new floating pontoons will be installed along the east bank of the river near the Lake Pertobe walking trail. 

The state government has provided $88,200 for the project which will cover the new pontoons and upgrade to improve disability access to fishing spots on the west bank of the river.

Warrnambool and District Angling Club president Robert O’Neill said the funding was welcome news.

“This will provide not only members of the angling club, but everyone who loves fishing, to share in better facilities,” Mr O’Neill said.

“A lot of locals and holiday makers fish in this part of the river so these improvements will be a great asset.

“Also having the improved disability access will allow people in wheelchairs to come to this part of the river to fish.”

Warrnambool mayor Michael Neoh said the city council was thrilled with the funding. He said improving recreational fishing facilities was an important step forward.

“In the council’s recreation plan, walking and fishing were rated as two of the highest activities so we need to develop facilities such as this,” Cr Neoh said.

“This part of the river is close to the rail trail and Lake Pertobe, so this will help bring all this area together and make it a valuable recreation space.”

Victorian Premier and member for South West Coast Denis Napthine was in town to make the funding announcement on the banks of the river.

Dr Napthine said the project would be delivered by the Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Management Authority with the funding coming from the Recreational Fishing Grants Program.

He said this project is being funded by proceeds from the sale of recreational fishing licences.

“This means fishers’ fees are going directly back into improving the pastime they enjoy,” Dr Napthine said.

“The two floating pontoons will provide flat, stable and safe platforms from which anglers can fish with plenty of room to cast out a line.

“The two areas will also be revegetated and woody weeds removed to provide clearer waters to improve the chances of making that lucrative catch.”