“IT’S a historic moment for Tea Gardens”, declared a proud Paul Bendy, Marine Engineer and the President of the Slipway Association, reflecting on their success in achieving a NSW Boating Now Grant for $485k for major improvements works to the well-used slipway.
The grant is being boosted by a generous $120K from the 90-person strong volunteer Association.
The modernisation project will upgrade and move the aging structures that comprise the 60-year old slipway onto higher ground safely above the tidal zone.
Upgrades include a new winch house with amenities, a longer rail to the boat cradle, concrete pads, and the installation of in-ground drains, storage and treatment tanks for wastewater collection and treatment.
High and dry, the slipway will be able to effectively operate for longer periods.
Boats will be able to be repaired and cleaned without the wastewater polluting the beautiful Myall River.
The grant also recognises that the Tea Gardens slipway is the only marine maintenance and emergency response facility on the northern shores of Port Stephens.
In the last four months, four vessels at risk and taking on water were safely recovered back to the slipway for repairs.
This transformational project will take around four months to complete, providing local employment and much more.
The slipway generates over $500,000 per year in revenue for local businesses such as accommodation, food, retail, boating and trade services.
It supports local tourism, boating, commercial fishing and aquaculture.
Project execution will also draw on the expertise of qualified volunteers from the Slipway Association.
The members who worked hard on the application to the Maritime Infrastructure Delivery Office (MIDO) Boating Now Program are looking forward to actually working on the project.
Paul Bendy added, “We estimate it will take at least four months of work for the whole facility to be moved to higher ground and upgraded to meet legislative requirements. This is critical for our future. Our aim is to become the benchmark for the operations and compliance for marine slipways in NSW.”
For further information or to join the Tea Gardens Slipway Association, contact Paul on 0400 123 639.
By Sandra MURRAY