Portland boat ramp's $7 million upgrade, but parking concerns linger

PORTLAND’s new $7 million fishing facility will officially open tomorrow as concerns linger that it won’t fix the foreshore’s parking problem.

New boat ramps, cleaning tables and up to 70 new berths on a floating marina have been finished after a three-year effort. 

The foreshore will be able to cater for up to 200 vehicles and trailers. 

But Portland fisherman Bob McPherson said the upgrade was a mixed bag, saying there was still not enough parking space to cater for huge crowds of anglers.  

Glenelg Shire has included overflow areas into its paid parking zone. Mr McPherson said police would still be needed to intervene to manage traffic during peak times. 

“Police are still going to have to be there, it’s still a problem,” he said. 

He did save praise for the new “state-of-the-art” boat ramps, saying it would ease congestion. 

“The average waiting time on the boat ramp is an hour-and-a quarter. That will be cut down to 20 minutes.” 

He suggested the lack of parking space could see some spin-off benefits for Warrnambool and Port Fairy as anglers search to launch vessels from elsewhere. 

Mr McPherson also pointed out that the redevelopment didn’t include any toilet facilities.

“I’m assuming they’ll have to bring in portables.” 

Most of the funding was provided by the state government. 

Glenelg Shire spent $1.9 million on the works, while the city’s largest employer Portland Aluminium spent $600,000 on the development. 

Mayor John Northcott said the works would lift tourism numbers. 

“The Glenelg Shire community can expect increased tourism expenditure through better facilities for visitors and recreational boat users, improved arrangements for some of the commercial fishing fleet, improved boat launching facilities for recreational boaters and improved management and traffic flow on foreshore,” Cr Northcott said.

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