With funding to properly dredge Warrnambool's silting Lady Bay falling short by almost half, starting the work anyway was the "best shot" at making the harbour safer, the city council was told on Monday.
Faced with the reality of having to scale back the works because the $1 million funding allocation from the state government wouldn't stretch far enough, councillors unanimously voted to start the works anyway in the hope they could secure more funding to finish the project in the meantime.
Cr Ben Blain said the amount of sand the million-dollar budget could remove was 20,000 cubic metres instead of the 35,000 that was needed.
He said the increased costs were a sign of what had been happening over the past 12 months.
"In this period of hyperinflation we've seen, even though we were awarded $1 million in funding, we've had to scale back the works," Cr Blain said.
"If we do nothing, nothing's going to change down there.
"We know that the harbour's being filled up with sand. We really need to do something and this is our best shot.
"It is disappointing we have to work with the budget that we've got."
But Cr Blain said he thought the council would be able to source more funding out of the state government for more works.
"Maintenance dredging is going to be critical in order to keep this facility safe and useable. It shouldn't be done by time, it needs to be done by the movement of the sand in order to ensure that it's safe all the time," he said.
Cr Blain said there was a "whole heap" of extra work that had to be done and the dispersal of the spoils had changed it methodology.
He said instead of there being a pipe floating out on the harbour putting the spoils out further, it was actually going to be done on the beach now and "rainbowed" out to sea about 150 metres.
Work had been done to make sure it wasn't going to create any rips or safety issues, Cr Blain said.
When it came to the spoils, he said it was important to have the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.
"They are the key in order to be able to continue to dredge and look after this facility," he said.
Cr Max Taylor said the depositing of dredging spoils further north along the beach was not his first choice.
"I'd rather see the sand deposited somewhere else, or mainly between Worm Bay and the Pavilion," he said. "I just hope it all goes well."
Cr Blain said when it came to the harbour, the council was an advocacy body for what was a state asset. "It needs state funding. It is not our asset," he said.
Cr Richard Ziegeler said he wanted to signal that the works were the first stage of what had to be a regular occurrence.
"Sometimes I find it a little bit galling that we have to find and fight for the funding for these kinds of projects that are essential for this particular township and essential for the wellbeing of our magnificent harbour," he said.
"At least we've got a start to it."
The tender was awarded to Hall Contracting.
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