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Dredge Funding Welcomed But Reps Say More Needed

Ettalong Channel.

Dredge Funding Welcomed But Reps Say More Needed

Peninsula business representatives have welcomed $250,000 in emergency dredging funds for the Ettalong Channel, but say it's just one piece in the puzzle.

"It's $250,000 towards was Council staff estimate is a massive $3 million overall cost," says Ettalong Diggers CEO Bill Jackson.

"I think the dredging is required to remove 70 to 80,000 cubic metres... We still need to make sure this is not just dropped again and go another nine years before something else is done."

It’s hoped ferry services will be up and running again within the month, once surveying’s done and 20-thousand cubic metres of sand is cleared out of the passage.

While Central Coast Council says it'll get its Rescuing Our Waterways application in to the State Government by the June 8 deadline, seeking 50-50 funding to open up more of the choked up channel.

Chamber of Commerce President Matthew Wales says it's a good start but an ongoing maintenance solution is needed.

"(We need) a major dredging operation and renourishment of Ocean Beach, that is essential," Mr Wales says.

"I believe the State Government understands that, but we must take advantage of this short-term funding application process so we can at least get the Channel reopened and Ferry services recommenced."

"The long term solution will come, but it's going to take some time and patient negotiations between Council and the NSW State Government."

Mr Wales is now urging Peninsula locals to keep the pressure on both levels of government for more cash.

Fantasea Cruises, who run the Palm Beach Ferry, says it will work closely with authorities while dredging takes place, and will decide whether to resume services to Ettalong and Wagstaffe once it's complete.

Assistant General Manager Stuart Bicknell says they'll get them up and running again if the Channel's open and safe.