PORT PHILLIP CONSERVATION COUNCIL INC.

Tel 0429176725                                                                                                   pre@ppcc.org.au
                 A0020093K Victoria                                                                                           www.ppcc.org.au                
                                                                                                                               11th February 1999
Co-ordinator
Department of Infrastructure
12 Lakeside Drive
Burwood East Vic. 3151 .

Dear Sir,

Submission on Behalf of Port Phillip Conservation Council Inc. on Proposed Safe Boat Harbour at Blairgowrle

The Port Phillip Conservation Council Inc. is a federation of fifteen bayside groups, now in its 28th year, set up to conserve, protect and enhance the Bay for the benefit of the wider community that uses and enjoys it. We were represented at the E.E.S. Consultative Committee meetings,

There is one fact about this proposal, and we stress the word "fact", that is non-arguable. This area of the coastline of Port Phillip will change if the proposal proceeds.

The basic laws of physics state that for every action there is a reaction, There will be no exemption for Blairgowrie. We believe that in total it will be a negative reaction.

It is our contention that the construction of a 207 metre long concrete wall, extending 2 metres above high water sea level at the end of a 380 imetre jetty, will have a major impact on the coastal processes of the adjacent shoreline. The energy and ability of waves to move sand will be reduced by this obstruction, and that must alter the area's coastal processes.

Similar protecting walls, admittedly extending to the seabed at other sites around the Bay, have already done so. Cuspate forelands (incipient tombolas) have formed on the shoreline, protected from high energy waves, at St Leonard's, Portarlington, St Kilda and Brighton, causing erosion and necessitating ameliorating and often costly works to be undertaken on either side of them.

The E.E.S. provides evidence that the seabed in the vicinity of the proposal has not changed in the last 40 years. The one certainty of' this proposal is that it will now change and change adversely if the proposal proceeds.

The overall 3 m height of the proposed wall is of some concern. A concrete wall is difficult to disguise a anything but a concrete wall. The visual aspect and aesthetics of the area, from both land and from seawards, must deteriorate as a result. The height of the wall should be reduced by at least 1 m.

The wave heights for the area given in the E.E.S. would hardly justify a structure 2.3 m above sea level.

From the tables in the E.E.S, it is difficult to justify the construction of the stand-alone wall, proposed to be built of timber, west of the main wall.

The E.E.S. mentions existing harbour capacities around the Bay and some future proposals. It ignores the Queenscliff Marina proposal, and underestimates the vacancies at others.

The E.E.S. states that there are no plans or intentions for the proposal to generate larger, or more extensive shore-based maintenance facilities for the larger vessels (up to 18 metres) that this facility will cater for. The recently completed Olivers Hill E.E.S. Panel Hearing was told by a number of witnesses that this type of boating facility inevitably attracts a demand for expanded maintenance facilities.

One of the more contentious issues in the E.E.S. is provision of car parking sites to service the additional need, which this proposal will inevitably generate The inclusion of existing public car parks, whether fully utilised or not, to be handed over to the Yacht Club, is totally unacceptable. These parks are sited on public open space foreshore reserve. If they are no longer necessary for public use, the environmentally responsible thing to do would be to return them to their original state by revegetation. They were never intended, nor should they ever be allocated for Yacht Club use. Likewise, the proposed use of parking, along the public access way from the Nepean Highway to the Yacht Club, should not be considered as for exclusive Yacht Club use. This area is adjacent to a popular public beach, used by many more times the 220 yacht owners whom the proposal will benefit. The public's access to the area must be protected

We further believe that increased traffic and parking demand will seriously affect and disturb the amenity of the area for existing users and local residents, whose rights should not be compromised.

We have recently visited other marinas around the Bay, and have seen the extent of the polluted water generated by a marina, especially at Sandringham, a more enclosed facility than this proposal, However, it is inevitable, despite the Yacht Club's best intentions, that pollution will occur in a concentrated area of 220 boats. If one studies the direction of the prevailing winds, one can see that this pollution will find its way on to the public beaches either side. This would appear contrary to current government policies, which clearly state that expanded or new developments should not adversely affect beneficial uses already existing.

We also have some concerns about the long-term structural integrity of the proposed wave screen design. Concrete cancer is a well-documented phenomenon, inevitably exacerbated in a salt-water environment. Will the concrete wave screen, as proposed, be reinforced by non-corrosive metal, or what other method of ensuring its longevity will be used? The supporting pillars for the structure, with their foundations located in a notoriously unstable sand base, may after time succumb to the power of the waves, which the proponents say are a danger to their present swing-moored vessels.

Long experience with coastal projects, such as this, has shown that the predictions of consultants employed by proponents are not always correct. We have a very long list of such occurrences in our records, To avoid the consequences of this happening again, we suggest that an independent study be commissioned by the Government to verify the conclusions of the proponents' funded consultants. Clearly this is beyond the ability of an organisation such as ours, but we have serious reservations about the proposal, which may have long-term disastrous consequences for Melbourne's greatest natural asset, Port Phillip Bay.

We commend the intentions the Yacht Club in guaranteeing that any negative consequences of the proposal will be corrected at the Club's cost, but we question the ability of a club, as described in the E.E.S., to actually do so. We quote the recent Hampton Beach rebuilding and renourishment, which cost $3.5 million. Is the present club management speaking for all its membership now and in the future when making this commitment?

A tourist development report, quoted at the Olivers Hill E.E.S. Panel Hearing, stated that only 2% of all visitors to the Mornington Peninsula listed boating as a reason for their visit, a very small percentage indeed. This project may adversely affect some of the other 98% who visit the area for other reasons, negatively impinging on the region's largest income source, tourism.

In conclusion, we contend that there are a number of reasons why this proposal should not be approved. We draw to your attention the "Precautionary Principle" for sensitive developments, which briefly put says: "If in doubt, don't".

Yours faithfully,
 

Geoffrey Goode
President
Port Phillip Conservation Council Inc.