Environmental upgrade to Tea Gardens Slipway continues

The upgrade to the Slipway’s facilities is underway.

 

THE upgrade to the Tea Gardens Slipway commenced in early March, an initiative by the Tea Gardens Slipway Association to improve the facility’s environmental compliance.

This is to ensure that the slipway can comply with all environmental legislation concerning marine slipway’s operations and all standards well into the future.

“Today, the Management Committee charged with the responsibility of managing the slipway facility, is taking on its biggest ever challenge; upgrading the facility to meet 21st century environmental requirements,” said Tea Gardens Slipway Association President Paul Bendy.

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“While the upgrade will be costly, the critical need to retain the last operational slipway in our area is vital to the ongoing health of our local waterways.”

Mr Bendy said the slipway is an integral part of life on the Myall Coast.

“It is part of our river foreshore and as such is both a local resource, a tourist attraction and an emergency response facility.

“While its prime purpose is to service locally owned vessels, it is also available to visiting vessels if they experienced difficulties, thereby threatening the river environment.”

“There have been many occasions where the threat of closing the slipway due to its perceived unimportance, have not been understood by some regulative authorities.

“While there have been brief periods when the slipway has been closed, the reasons for the closure have always been overcome.

“If the Myall River and Lakes are to have resources to support protecting their health, the Tea Gardens Slipway along with the effluent barge “Independence” are the vital and much needed facilities to ensure this achievement,” said Mr Bendy.

The slipway facilities have seen many improvements over the years to ensure it is able to deliver the service safely and effectively.

“The Tea Gardens Slipway cradle has supported many and varied vessels over the years,” he said.

“Vessels are taken out of the water for their annual maintenance and inspection to ensure they are safe and reliable.

“Boat sizes, while generally grown in size over the years, have always been able to be accommodated at the well designed slipway.”

Mr Bendy said the Myall region had a rich history of slipways, dating back to settlement.

“The Myall River has a history of many slipways, both private and commercial, since the area was settled more than 100 years ago.

“They were established in many locations such as Winda Woppa, Hawks Nest, Tea Gardens and up the Myall River as far as Tamboi,” he said.

One of the slipways located at Winda Woppa was part of the Birdwood Mill, owned by Allen Taylor and Company.

The mill slipway was used to maintain the local drogher fleet that supplied the mill with timber. However, after a devastating fire in December 1950 followed by a downturn in the timber industry, the Birdwood Mill ceased operation in 1954.

As a result of the mill closure, the slipway lay idle for a period until some local people got together and decided to relocate the slipway to its present site in Tea Gardens.

There have been varying owners and/or operators managing the facility until March 1980, when a group of local boat owners began operating the slipway as a community recreational facility.

Then in 1988, the same boat owners applied to become an Incorporated Association under the jurisdiction of NSW Fair Trading.

Today, while the slipway is still managed by the same Incorporated Association, it continues to be a vital part of our community’s basic facilities.

The Slipway is expected to be closed until July.

 

By Doug CONNOR

 

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