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• port hacking vision
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• bonnievale ramp
• minimising nuisence
• stormwater mgnt
• marine heritage
• biodiveristy
• landscape controls


• jetski issues
• cabbage tree basin
• dunecare report

A Boatramp at Bonnie Vale?

The Water Access Group have said they want a low key boat ramp for local use. They claim not to want a large facility. They have said they don't need trailer parking as they are prepared to take their trailers home. They have said they are happy to have use constrained so as to prevent any adverse effects on the Park, adjacent residents or the environment. They have agreed in principle to a number of management constraints, such as active policing, a low-key structure, and the ongoing use of the ramp to be subject to review.

National Parks Association has said that National Park areas and resources ought not be used for private uses, like boating facilities. It is outside the Act to redirect resources in this way. Plus this particular proposal raises all sorts of problems for other users and the environment. Sutherland Council should be responsible for providing such facilities outside National Park areas.

Local residents and environment groups have raised many potential problems associated with such a facility.
  • NPWS is not permitted to restrict use of the ramp once it is in place. It is easy to envisage this ramp becoming heavily used for small high powered boats into Simpsons Bay, close to picnic, swimming and residential areas.

  • Increases in use by PWC (jetskis) are a concern. Bonnie Vale is an excellent 'base', and the shoals near Bonnie Vale provide wave jumping opportunities. Already there are noise and safety concerns in Bonnie Vale and Simpsons Bay. As these craft are excluded from other areas, more pressure on Simpsons Bay is likely

There is also a number of on-shore issues.
  • NPWS can restrict the trailer parking areas, but there is little to prevent these from spilling into the adjacent streets, or crowding other parts of Bonnie Vale.

  • Vehicle circulation, particularly around the camping area and the picnic area, which raises safety and amenity issues for other users.

  • Risks to other users from boats on the water, on from injury on the land. Recent cases indicate that NPWS will bear liability for any injuries that may arise.

  • NPWS bear the cost of providing the facilities for boats that use this facility. That will reduce the funds available for other work.

Finally there are concerns about the impact of increased boat use on the natural values of the area:
  • Seagrasses, which may be harmed by increased power boat use in the seagrass beds;

  • The Basin and other sensitive areas, which are likely to be affected if boating usage of the area increases.

The PHPS View

Bonnie Vale is an inappropriate location for a boat ramp. If such a facility is to be put in such an unsuitable place, effective controls for all potential problems should be in place beforehand.

Waterways and NPWS have limited policing resources. Rules that require intensive policing (like noise monitoring of individual boats, or detailed regulations about boat locations) will not be effective. Any controls have to be clear, simple and easily enforced.

The following are suggestions have been made by residents and are endorsed by PHPS.
  • Simpsons Bay should be declared low speed (below the planing speed of a vessel - say 8 knots), from the end of the Deeban (Constable's Point) spit to the start of Horderns Beach, in a roughly rectangular shape. This would eliminate wave jumping in the shoals, which is the main noise problem, and high speed use in the shallows, which are the safety and seagrass damage issues.

  • The Basin should be power boat free.

  • Relevant agencies (either waterways or Sutherland Shire Council) to share the costs of providing the facility.

  • The ramp should be subject to a 2 year review involving residents, other users and boating users.

  • Implementation of the ramp should be subject to the management controls already agreed by the Water Access and other boating groups with the Hacking River Management Management Committee.

Local residents have suggested to the Water Access Group that they adopt this approach, and that this would reduce opposition. So far the Waterway Access Group have not responded to this and other suggestions about how the management issues might be resolved.
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