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Council Commits To 50-50 Dredge Funding for Ettalong Channel

Fight Continues To Clean It Up

Council Commits To 50-50 Dredge Funding for Ettalong Channel

The fight over the Ettalong Channel continues, despite Central Coast Council's decision to apply for state funding to dredge the passage.

Council’s Gosford chambers were packed out with residents during an ordinary meeting overnight.

They heard the local government will prepare an application for cash under the $6 million Rescuing Our Waterways program.

It means, ultimately, ratepayers will cop about half of the cost for works.

The latest development comes off the back of a meeting in Ettalong last week, seeing 400 people call for the buck to stop being passed between the two levels of government.

Tensions had flared up after ferry services offered by Fantasea Cruises had been suspended indefinitely between Ettalong, Wagstaffe and Palm Beach due to safety concerns, putting a strain on commuters’ hip pockets and the Peninsula’s $2 million tourism industry.

Off the back of the decision, Mayor Jane Smith has called for the Berejiklian Government to commit to an emergency fix, because it could be months before any cash is handed over.

Independent Councillor Greg Best says pursuing the grant scheme is a “Band-Aid motion”, also pointing out it could be a year before the Peninsula sees an outcome on the choked up channel.

“You’ve got to do a dredge plan, find a dredge and find the staff,” Cr Best said.

Parliamentary Secretary Scot MacDonald rejects the idea it could take six to eight months for money to come Council’s way.

But he’s also downplayed calls for the state to fund an emergency fix in the meantime.

“Rescuing Our Waterways is closing in early June and we believe we can turn that around quickly,” he said.

“The best strategy here is to stick to Rescuing Our Waterways.”