10 May 2023

Two-stage pontoon plan 'not acceptable'

| Cape York Weekly
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A PLAN to improve Weipa’s boat ramp infrastructure in two stages has been blasted out of the water by the town’s major marine group.

On Thursday night, the Weipa Marine and Boating Group voted unanimously to reject the idea of a staggered plan to upgrade the pontoon facilities at Evans Landing.

The WMBG is an arm of the Western Cape Chamber of Commerce and said the community should not accept a second-grade solution.

“We unanimously agreed that a staggered plan suggested by the Department of Transport and Main Roads to fix the ‘notorious Evans Landing boat ramp’ was totally unacceptable to the community,” a WMBG spokesman said.

“Members agreed that any upgrade must be completed in its entirety or not at all.

“The WMBG is passionate about Weipa receiving the best solution possible for fixing the Evans Landing boat ramp.

“It does not support a two-stage process as that may take another five to 10 years to be achieved and more than double construction costs.

“The upgrade must be fully completed this time round.

“The community has waited long enough and should not have to accept an inadequate and possibly unsafe structure for a second time.”

The Evans Landing boat ramp and pontoon facility is only five years old. At a meeting in Weipa two weeks ago, TMR marine infrastructure manager Roger Priest told locals that his organisation was not to blame, pointing the finger elsewhere.

He said North Queensland Bulk Ports designed the current facility, even though TMR owns it. His statement ruffled the feathers of NQBP officials.

In a statement, NQBP said: “We were happy to help at the time and provide the land for the ramp and pontoon. However questions about the subsequent design and the ongoing management and suitability of the facility are best directed to TMR and Weipa Town Authority.”

The marine group said the time for blame was over and that a solution must be found.

“Weipa has been officially advised by press release from Cynthia Lui that the Evans Landing boat ramp will be upgraded by mid-2021,” the spokesman said.

“The community has every right to expect this to happen and the new facility to be both safe and adequate for locals and visitors well into the future.”

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