Confusion still surrounds the Ferry Timetable at Tea Gardens.
Two weeks ago News Of The Area raised the issue, following cancellations to the ferry service over the October long weekend.
This was due to the strong winds.
“We don’t run when the winds are 30 knots or more,” skipper and former owner Ray Horsfield said.
“We are governed by the weather, legally.”
The strong winds last Sunday also stopped the ferry from running.
Ray Horsefield owned the Wallamba for 10 years before selling it recently to the Port Stephens Ferry Service.
He still skippers the ferry 2 or 3 days a week.
“It’s impossible to run to the Midcoast Council timetable at Tea Gardens, which is a ferry every half hour,” said Ray.
“There’s the tides, there’s loading and unloading of passengers, and the run itself takes an hour,” told News Of The Area.
‘‘When people look at the Tea Gardens Council timetable, then look at a brochure, or go online, then passengers get confused,” he added.
News Of The Area asked MidCoast Council for comment and their media office responded with this email.
MidCoast Council’s Manager of Community Spaces, Recreation and Trades, Dan Aldridge, said, “All three ferry providers have approved DAs to conduct ferry services from Tea Gardens Wharf on Marine Drive.’’
All three DAs require the providers to erect a single sign on the Reserve near the river indicating the timetable for all three providers,” the Council email continued.
‘’Their timetables are also a condition of the DA approvals.
“If the applicants want to change the timetables, they are required to submit a DA Modification to Council for consideration,” added Dan Aldridge.
Another request for clarity, pointing out that there is only one Ferry Service now in operation, has so far gone unanswered.
On the Nelson Bay side, there are 2 signs which clearly show when the ferries run or if they are not running on any particular day.
Gordon Grainger of the Foreshore Reference Group said, “If there was a board that we could change when the ferry is cancelled, I’d happily do that.”
Ray Horsfield summed it up well when he told News Of The Area, “The big picture is, the ferry service is a tourist icon, it’s vital commerce for the town (Tea Gardens).”
“Thousands of people come here every year and there are not too many old ferries that do this.”
“We need new board signs, that match up with the brochure and online information. It’s that simple,” he said.
Myall Coast News Of The Area will continue to update the public with any developments on this story.
By: Margie TIERNEY