7 June, 2021
Confusion reigns ahead of $3 million pontoon upgrade
THE Weipa Town Authority has been thrown under the bus by the Department of Transport and Main Roads and Maritime Safety Queensland, as it scrambles to find a solution to upcoming boat ramp closures.
By MATT NICHOLLS
Work is set to begin this week on the $3 million pontoon upgrade at Weipa’s main boat ramp at Evans Landing, but no one from the project team thought to consult the businesses that rely on the ramp for their livelihood.
When it was revealed by the project team that the ramp would have intermittent closures during the three to four-week installation phase, chaos erupted.
The Rocky Point ramp would be difficult to use during that period due to the tides.
Meanwhile, the WTA, led by Judey Haeusler, has been left to broker an arrangement between the charter boat operators, North Queensland Bulk Ports and the Weipa VMR unit to allow access to the old boat ramp.
Cape York Weekly attended a meeting between the charter operators and WTA and it appears a solution is likely to be found.
TMR or MSQ didn’t say why they failed to consult with the community on closures, but insisted that ramp closures would be for a “maximum of one hour”.
“MSQ and the Weipa pontoon contractor are aware boaties and commercial operators want to be able to use the public boat ramp during the works,” a spokesperson said on Friday.
“MSQ is working with the WTA and the contractor to minimise disruptions. The ramp will remain open with some short-term closures to ensure public safety during installation of piles.
“Any closure will be a maximum of one hour and times will be communicated to ramp users with signs posted at the facility and the WTA notified in advance.
The on-site foreman’s contact details will also be provided to all commercial users, so operators can contact him about the ramp status.
“The pontoon and gangway access will be closed for the duration of works. The old pontoon needs to be removed to allow installation of a new wave attenuating pontoon.”
The new pontoon is expected to be completed by mid-July.