“CRITICAL and enduring infrastructure with a key role in supporting emergency response and protecting this community’s waterways.”
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This is how Paul Bendy, President of the Slipway Association, describes the Tea Gardens slipway.
On 11 May, the slipway was opened to provide a safe haven for a vessel at risk of sinking.
Paul Bendy told NOTA, “The vessel was taking on water as a result of an unknown problem. I was contacted by the worried owner who desperately needed his vessel to be slipped to identify and fix the problem. The owner could not access his local slipway on the southside of Port Stephens due to unfavorable tides. The Tea Gardens Slipway was not affected by these conditions. We responded to the call for help and the vessel was successfully slipped on Wednesday afternoon. The source of the flooding was identified and the vessel is currently being repaired.”
Paul added, “Imagine what could have been the end result if the slipway facility was not ready or not able to handle this all too common incident.”
At the time, the slipway was, and continues to be, closed in compliance with COVID-19 restrictions to protect locals.
However, the Slipway Association has retained the capability to respond to any emergency situation arising on the Myall River and surrounding waters.
Paul stated, “Clearly the slipway is critical infrastructure for the waters of Port Stephens as well as for the extended Myall River and Lakes. Ongoing government funding and support is needed to keep this facility operational and ready.”
The Tea Gardens Slipway Association recently applied to the NSW Government’s Maritime Infrastructure Delivery Office (MIDO) for funding to update the slipway facilities.
At this stage, the successful applicants will be announced in July 2020.
By Sandra MURRAY