Campaigners are upbeat about securing funding to upgrade Warrnambool’s boating facilities despite the only party pledging cash failing to win the state election.
What we have to do now is tell the government to go forward and upgrade the boat ramp ... and if it doesn't work then go for an enclosed harbour.Rodney 'Snake' Blake
It is likely sitting MP and Liberal Party representative Roma Britnell will this week claim victory in South West Coast.
Her party made an election pledge to return all boating and fishing licence revenue back to the state’s boat ramps and launching facilities, with Mrs Britnell saying she would strongly advocate for upgrades.
The Labor government announced it would upgrade ramps and abolish boating fees if re-elected, however it did not detail plans for any upgrades to the city’s facilities. Warrnambool master mariner and harbour advocate Rod 'Snake' Blake said it was a disappointing result.
However he said there was a plan to ensure the upgrades continued to be on the state government’s agenda.
"I've been speaking to (Warrnambool mayor) Tony Herbert and he's going to convene a community committee and advocate for our case better," he said. “He says the way we have done it in the past has failed, so we need to change our tactic and really advocate hard to the state government. We're dead in the water at the moment, but what we have to do now is tell the government to go forward and upgrade the boat ramp as the council proposed and if it doesn't work then go for an enclosed harbour.”
He said the council needed to secure $3 million for safer launching facilties and upgrade the boat ramp, then assess the works.
“That way we can see and then push for an enclosed harbour,” he said. “It's not all doom and gloom. At the moment the facilities are falling apart and in time it may be condemned. Even at the moment it's unsafe. They have been making running repairs for months. Tony’s attitude is progressive, he's all for building up the harbour for wider community use and the economy. After speaking with him I'm really encouraged with the new chief executive officer being a part of the council. Being from Western Australia they know about infrastructure - their boat ramps are world class."