Warrnambool City Council has "terminated" its own harbour reference group saying it is no longer needed, but members say they are disappointed by the surprise decision.
Councillors voted unanimously to disband the group at their Monday meeting, and Cr Max Taylor flagged that he would like to see a new group formed that took in the whole coast from Logans Beach to Thunder Point.
Long-term member Neville Dance said he had been left disillusioned after devoting 20 years of his life to helping on the council's various harbour groups.
Mr Dance said he knew it was "in the air" because they had been told last week that moves to disband the group was "up for discussion", but he was upset to hear the outcome from The Standard and not the council.
"It's just disappointing. All things come to an end, I understand that, but it would have been nice if someone had got on the phone this morning," he said.
"Their opinion was that our mission was complete, my opinion was that our mission wasn't complete. I was disappointed that we weren't given the chance to follow it through to the end of the boat ramp process and the dredging.
"I don't know where it's come from, who or what or why. Very disappointed."
Tammy Good said the move had "surprised" the group which felt that it had "unfinished business" and members had a "lot more to contribute".
"Some of the objectives hadn't been met yet. We are powerless to do anything," she said.
Ms Good said while plans for the boat ramp upgrade had been ticked off, the dredging was still "quite a contentious issue".
She said the group had been set up by the council and it was in its power to terminate if it no longer served a function.
Cr Taylor said that as much as he was disappointed the reference group was to be discontinued, it had served its purpose with the completion of the master plan and securing funding for the redevelopment of the boat ramp.
But Cr Ben Blain said it was not the end of the master plan with the boat ramp upgrade only stage one, and addressing the wave surge was stage two and stage three was the full foreshore precinct.
"This is really the start of where we are trying to go over the next 10 to 20 years with our harbour," Cr Blain said. He said the "termination" of the group - which dates back to 2014 - didn't mean nothing would be happening down at the harbour, or that there wouldn't be community input.
Mayor Richard Ziegeler thanked the participants of the reference group, and there were other options for getting feedback from the community and stakeholders on the "prized" foreshore.
Work on the $1.89 million boat ramp upgrade is set to start in May.
IN OTHER NEWS:
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content:
Now just one tap with our new app: Digital subscribers now have the convenience of faster news, right at your fingertips with The Standard:
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.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.