Sand and infestation threatening harbour

Future management of the Apollo Bay Harbour is in question as “high-level risks” worry Colac Otway Shire Council.

A build-up of sand, a kelp infestation and lack of maintenance could force the closure of Apollo Bay’s iconic harbour.

Colac Otway Shire Council is investigating whether to pull out of managing the Port of Apollo Bay and hand the problem-plagued harbour back to the State Government.

Councillors were this month set to vote to extend the council’s management agreement for the government-owned port for another 18 months.

But Apollo Bay residents and port users flooded the council with questions and complaints, claiming the harbour was unsafe and at risk of shutting down.

Complaints related to a build-up of sand making it unsafe to navigate parts of the port, the spread of the noxious kelp weed undaria, corroded decking and rails, misaligned navigation aids and a lack of safety warnings.

Councillors have deferred making a decision on the port’s management until the council investigates the risks and costs of continuing the agreement, while council managers will have an urgent meeting with port users to deal with their safety concerns.

Port user Bill Gross told councillors that the council had a responsibility to keep the harbour safe and accessible, but had failed to live up to safety provisions, including a failure for four years to publish a notice that navigation guides were in the wrong place.

Mr Gross said the harbour might gain more state funding if the State Government was responsible for its management.

“Has council considered that the harbour is underfunded by the state?”

For the full story see today’s Colac Herald.

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