Emu Bay boat ramp frustration building on Kangaroo Island

FRUSTRATED FISHER: Sean Pearce from Emu Bay Fishing Charters has had to drive his new boat around from Kingscote due to the Emu Bay ramp being closed.
FRUSTRATED FISHER: Sean Pearce from Emu Bay Fishing Charters has had to drive his new boat around from Kingscote due to the Emu Bay ramp being closed.

Charter boat operator Sean Pearce has been having to drive his new boat around to Emu Bay from Kingscote, burning 90 litres of fuel and wasting 1.5 hours before he even goes fishing. Andrew Neighbour from KI Marine Adventures has also been forced to make the long trip around.

This is because the new Emu Bay boat ramp remains closed because of safety concerns and also because the contractor is still completing the parking lot.

Mayor Michael Pengilly said he shared the community's concern but the ramp remained in the hands of the contractor until the parking lots works were complete, which had been held up by wet weather.

There will be a special informal gathering at 3pm on Tuesday afternoon after the November council meeting to discuss the ramp. He said he anticipated a safety report commissioned by the council would be released to the public.

Mr Pengilly agreed that it may have been better to have built a breakwater before works on the ramp and parking lot, but that the council now wanted the ramp open before the busy holiday season and would work with the contractor to make it happen.

Clr Ken Liu however said the engineer's report was quite negative about the safety aspects of the new ramp and the council needed to decide if it could be opened without a breakwater.

Anton Jamieson from Jamieson Marine said the ramp needed to open as soon as possible, because holiday makers heading to the Island expected to have access. He personally believed the new ramp could be opened safely with some relatively minor adjustments to the fending, along the lines of the new cruise ship boarding platform at Penneshaw.

Mr Pearce meanwhile has taken plenty of bookings for later this month and will be making the long trip around unless the ramp is reopened. "A lot of things need tidying up at the ramp but we certainly could reopen it with a few adjustments like where we tie up," he said.

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