Sea safety advocate still waiting for Warrnambool habour upgrade

Barb Heazlewood doesn’t share the enthusiasm over a $240,000 funding announcement for yet another study on how to improve Warrnambool’s Lady Bay boating facilities. Picture: DAMIAN WHITE

Barb Heazlewood doesn’t share the enthusiasm over a $240,000 funding announcement for yet another study on how to improve Warrnambool’s Lady Bay boating facilities. Picture: DAMIAN WHITE

BARB Heazlewood doesn’t share the enthusiasm over a $240,000 funding announcement for yet another study on how to improve Warrnambool’s Lady Bay boating facilities.

She has been waiting at least five decades for improvements and still hasn’t seen any that have lasted the distance.

“I remember signing a petition about 50 years ago seeking an upgrade to the boat launching ramp,” Mrs Heazlewood said on Monday night after the city council endorsed the next chapter in the saga.

Two reference groups will be formed to provide community and technical views on how the harbour can be improved without causing long-term environmental damage.

Then a consultant will be appointed to produce a masterplan covering the breakwater, boatramp and carpark including the former aquarium.

Mrs Heazlewood has long experience with ocean issues. 

Her husband Gerald (“Prop”) and son David died in a boating mishap and she is an inaugural member of the Warrnambool Coast Guard.

“It’s taken too long to get things done properly at the harbour,” she said.

“All the community wants is to have a boat ramp that works and is safe.

“We can’t leave our Coast Guard vessel moored at the jetty because of the ocean surges and have to anchor it in the bay.”

Premier and South West Coast MP Denis Napthine announced the funding on Friday saying the masterplan would provide evidence which would enable funding to be secured for improvements.

The city council will provide $60,000. Mayor Michael Neoh acknowledged the long process in getting improvements, but said it must be done correctly.

“Once a decision is made it’s not something we can wind back,” he said. Cr Rob Askew also stressed the importance of avoiding permanent damage to the safe beach.

“Hopefully we’ll come up with a solution to suit all parties,” he said.

Cr Peter Hulin said it was sad the issue had not been sorted before.

“Let’s hope we can go as quickly as possible to have a functioning harbour that everyone can use,” he said.

Cr Neoh and Cr Brian Kelson will represent the council on the community reference group which will also comprise representatives from 12 other groups.

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