CONSTRUCTION crews were welcomed to site with a smoking ceremony on Monday as work began on a long-awaited pontoon at the Ayton boat ramp.
The first stage of the Department of Transport and Main Roads $1 million boat ramp upgrade was completed last year with repairs to the broken bottom section of the ramp, with installation of a pontoon expected to be completed in a fortnight.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the upgrade would improve safety at the ramp, where a man and dog were attacked by a crocodile in February.
“The rebuild will bring Ayton’s boat ramp up to all-tide standards and improve safety for boaties, which is great news,” he said.
The news of the pontoon addition, which will be installed on the downstream side of the ramp by contractors Bellingham Marine, has drawn mixed reactions from residents, including Ned Auld.
“I don’t see a pontoon working very well there,” Mr Auld said.
“There’s a really strong current and when it floods that part of the river flows really fast, which could be problematic.”
Cook Shire mayor Peter Scott welcomed the final stage of the state government project, which he said the council had lobbied hard for.
“The upgraded ramp will improve launching and croc safety for locals and encourage more visitors to this beautiful area,” he said.
The Ayton boat ramp is closed while works are underway, with boaties able to use the nearby Wujal Wujal boat ramp in the interim.