With critical repairs to Warrnambool's damaged breakwater complete, boat ramp upgrade and dredging in the works talks between the city council and state government have turned to what's next for the harbour.
Minister for Ports and Freight Melissa Horne said visited the iconic structure on Wednesday morning to inspect the $250,000 worth of emergency repairs that were needed after a major storm caused significant damage in April last year.
When asked about funding for "urgent" works to install rock armouring along the outside of the breakwater to shore up the structure, Ms Horne said the government was "chipping away" at maintenance projects across the state.
"We are certainly working our way through what council is doing, and they're working very closely with the Department of Transport to say 'what are the next things?'" she said.
A $7 million rock wall at the back of the breakwater has been at the top of council priorities since 2018 when a report warned of the state of the structure beneath the waterline.
Ms Horne said the state government had committed $5.5 million to the harbour region over the past three years which includes the soon-to-be-replaced "worst boat ramp in the state".
She said she had met with the builders on Tuesday who were currently completing the Lake Bullen Merri boat ramp upgrade before moving on to Warrnambool in June.
"That will be really exciting. On top of that we've got the $1 million for dredging the bay. So over the last three years what we've seen about $5.5 million of investment just in this precinct alone," she said.
"This local landmark is an iconic spot, and these vital works will revive the bay and ensure it's safe for locals and visitors now and into the future.
"It's so quintessentially Warrnambool."
Repairs to the lower landing deck at the breakwater were still under way but repairs to the railing and concrete capping, made possible through the emergency funding, had been completed
Ms Horne said a significant dredging of the bay near the new ramp would provide better boating in all tides.
"The advice I've had too is the dredging will take pressure off the boat ramp as well. It will actually improve the overall safety," she said.
Works on the new boat ramp is expected to take three months.
Member for Western Victoria Gayle Tierney said there were few things more synonymous with Warrnambool than the breakwater.
"So it is fantastic to finally reopen the structure to locals and visitors, who rely on it for fishing and boating," she said.
"Warrnambool remains a hugely popular tourist town, so all the work we are doing to revive Lady Bay and its facilities will ensure local businesses are supported for years to come."
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