Designs of the Warrnambool's new boat ramp have been released by the state government after announcing $3.5 million for the project in Thursday's budget.
The news comes after decades of campaigning from locals for improvements to the area.
Warrnambool's deputy mayor Richard Ziegeler, who is also on the council's harbor reference group, said he was "absolutely thrilled to bits" by the cash splash.
"Finally we can see an end to what these blokes have been fighting for for many years," he said.
"It's something that we've desperately needed, to get things started down here, not only on a recreational basis but a commercial basis."
Group member Rodney Blake said the campaign for upgrades to the boat ramp had been going on to get attention for the boat ramp since it was first built in the 1970s and early 80s.
"Happy days," he said. "It's about time too.
"Hopefully this is the first step in a multitude of projects."
Mr Blake praised the work of Better Boating Victoria's CEO Katherine Grech and Marcus Higgins from the Department of Transport who had got onboard the project.
"It's really only got kicked along since October last year," Mr Blake said.
Neville Dance said Ms Grech had been the "catalyst for the turning point in the process with the can-do attitude".
Mr Blake said the council had been told to drop the idea of the world-first porous boat ramp, and then the money would flow.
Mr Dance said the discussions with the government so far meant he was hopeful of a funding announcement, but Thursday's news still took him by surprise.
"It's been long-awaited," he said.
"This is the first stage of a couple of stages.
"The boat ramp is a unique situation because it is suffering from surge and in a poor state. It's also very slippery to deal with"
Mr Dance said cars had ended up in the water with boats and trailers attached, people had slipped over or broken their hands trying to launch boats.
He said the jetties were in such a poor state they would probably collapse if bumped by a boat.
"The whole place is in dire need of a fairly major upgrade and that looks like what we're getting," he said.
Warrnambool Coastguard's Steve Tippett said it was a step-by-step approach. "I think that's terrific," he said.
Tammy Good said it was the first of a series of things to come for the whole foreshore.
Member for South West Coast Roma Britnell said the $3.5 million in funding was a step in the right direction.
Ms Britnell said she was pleased that work would finally begin after so long.
"This has been talked about for decades and now finally it looks like we are taking a step in the right direction," she said.
"There's no doubt the boat ramp needs a significant upgrade, but there is plenty more work that needs to be done in that precinct and I'm not sure $3.5 million will cover it.
"There needs to be significant alterations to the parking areas and of course the breakwater needs work to ensure it is structurally sound for another 130 years.
"I hope there is more to come, but this funding is a great start and I'm sure the boating and fishing community will be pleased to finally see work progressing."
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content
Catch up on the headlines of the week with our weekly podcast The Booletin and Beyond released every Sunday:
Have you signed up to The Standard's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in the south-west.
Our COVID-19 news articles relating to public health and safety are free for anyone to access. However, we depend on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support.