AFTER years of lobbying, it now appears almost certain the area of the Myall River known as ‘The Gut’ in Tea Gardens will be dredged by the middle of next year.
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The commitment came from the Director of Infrastructure for Crown Lands, Glenn Bunny, during a special presentation hosted by the Hawks Nest/Tea Gardens Progress Association last week
“I’m 90 percent confident that we will have ‘The Gut’ dredged by the end of the financial year,” Mr Bunny told the meeting.
“We will also be looking at the Shortcut.”
“I’m just waiting on some outstanding sediment sampling which determines how we can dredge, the machinery and methodology.”
Mr Bunny told News Of The Area, “The sampling should be completed within the next few weeks.”
“I’ve got budget for the dredge set aside for this financial year.”
In a surprisingly frank discussion, Mr Bunny also outlined the Government’s plans for a new way of managing the State’s massive infrastructure and assets.
“We’re developing a Coastal Infrastructure Unit which is an integrated group with ourselves (Crown Lands) Roads and Maritime Services and Transport NSW, which will provide one delivery agency for all coastal infrastructure for the entire State.
“At the moment we all do bits, so for an area like this (Tea Gardens/Hawks Nest/Port Stephens) it will be delivered and planned by one single agency,” Mr Bunny said.
A cabinet paper will go up for rubber stamping in March next year but Mr Bunny is extremely confident the change will go ahead.
Tea Gardens, as a port, has also been targeted for economic development.
Other issues raised included the restricted access to Jimmys Beach from the caravan park due to a drainage problem.
The need for Fire Hazard Reduction along Crown Lands from Bennetts Beach to Jimmys Beach, Winda Woppa’s erosion problems, Aboriginal Land claims and the need for meaningful engagement between all groups affected.
The Myall River Action Group’s Gordon Grainger said, “We found Glenn to be a welcoming voice to what has been a traditionally complex State Government Ministry.”
“His position manages a huge range of responsibilities and it was pleasing to hear that our Tea Gardens/Hawks Nest and surrounds are now recognised as an important Port and tourist hub.”
“The MRAG looks forward to working with Glenn into the future.
By Margie TIERNEY