Marina group calls for inquiry

Port Of Eden Marina (POEM) president Robin Arthur, committee member Peter Smith, secretary Dr Rob Bain and committee member Ken Farrell stand with the expected site of the attenuator behind them.
Port Of Eden Marina (POEM) president Robin Arthur, committee member Peter Smith, secretary Dr Rob Bain and committee member Ken Farrell stand with the expected site of the attenuator behind them.

The push for a wave attenuator for Eden's safe harbour project appears to have stalled despite $19m being having been allocated for the project.

Now the community group behind the drive to see an attenuator at Snug Cove, POEM (Port Of Eden Marina) are calling on Bega MP Andrew Constance to get the project moving or discover what is stopping it going ahead.

In full page advertisements in the Merimbula News Weekly and Bega District News, POEM calls on Mr Constance to "establish an independent inquiry into the long stalled Snug Cove Safe Harbour project or call for competitive tenders for the agreed attenuator.

POEM committee member Kent Farrell said he found the whole situation remarkable.

"Given everything that has happened in this area, here we have the government sitting on the best part of $20m and not using it to do what they said they would do," Mr Farrell said.

POEM was formed in 2010 with the aim of promoting the attenuator and safe harbour project. The attenuator would help protect both commercial and recreational vessels from the prevailing winds at Snug Cove. The attenuator would also facilitate the development of a marina, which could attract further visitation over a longer period than the cruising season - albeit in not the same numbers.

President of POEM Robin Arthur said the marina was a 365 day a year business which could provide opportunities for young people to train and get jobs, as well as providing spending in town as boats berth and replenish their supplies.

The group says that given its location and deep water harbour, Eden is perfect for a safe harbour and all-weather marina.

To date around $3m of the $19m has been spent on scoping studies, consultation and many meetings.

$11.5m had been allocated for the project but in August 2018 Mr Constance announced a further $10m "to get on with it" while attending the Eden Business Awards.

In the past designs were drawn up only to be redrawn after they conflicted with the commercial traffic and access in the port.

Now the government is claiming the attenuator is too expensive but POEM's secretary Dr Rob Bain said the group is convinced it can be built for less than $19m.

"$3m has been spent so far and we have the specifications; it is shovel ready."

He said studies had been completed by the EPA and Fisheries and there had also been geo-technical studies.

The group want to see the specification put out to commercial tender as they believe there are a couple of companies interested in the project.

The group has used the services of International Marina Consultants.

"They are a leading company in this field and have told us they are absolutely confident it can be built for the money allocated," Dr Bain said.

He said a similar design had been installed in Tasmania.

"They have estimated costs to be $20,000 per linear metre but government sources are saying it will cost over $60,000 a linear metre but they won't say how they reach that figure," Dr Bain said.

The group said that after years of studies a design and alignment of the attenuator was agreed in 2018, but then the state government claimed the agreed design was too expensive.

"They are developing a cheaper, radically modified design, which, we believe, will neither provide for a safe harbour or enable a marina ever to be built in Snug Cove," POEM said.

In the past Bega MP Andrew Constance has been a vocal proponent of the safe harbour project saying it was important to Eden.

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