Dredging risk and cost revealed

Afeasibility study taking into consideration mooring improvements at Carpenter Rocks has recommended no dredging be pursued.

The study by Wavelength Consulting provided a number of dredging options at Bucks Bay, located immediately adjacent the township.

Its director Annabel Sandery said a thorough approach looked at how the moorings arrangement could be improved.

“Whilst there is a method for dredging, we do not recommend it is pursued given the complexities and therefore risks and costs associated with a dredging program required for this area,” she said.

Grant District Council engaged Wavelength Consulting to complete a feasibility study in conjunction with the Department for Infrastructure and Transport (DIT).

This was in response to council being contacted by the Carpenter Rocks Professional Fisherman’s Association (CRPFA) in October 2021.

On behalf of the CRPFA, president Robert Miller requested the assistance of council to determine the feasibility of improving the mooring area to reduce vessel damage to the fishing community.

The request for the study according to Mr Miller was to provide clear scope around the best practices around the excavation and dredging of the bay.

“It is not our intention or belief this would have a negative impact on the environment or the integrity of Bucks Bay,” he said.

Bucks Bay has been used for commercial fishing vessels since the 1950s.

Over time vessels moored in the area have expanded in length from an average of 30ft to 50ft.

The study revealed under certain conditions vessels are at risk of colliding with one another.

This is due to the limitation of available space and ocean depths.

Of the existing moorings, there is overlap in vessel swing radiuses and under certain conditions the vessels do not maintain a consistent mooring direction.

This results in collisions between vessels, and consequently, costly repairs, increased insurance premiums and production down time.

The study addressed the feasibility of expanding and de-risking the mooring area by considering dredging options, optimising the mooring layouts, and utilising alternative mooring systems.

Current moorings have been installed by local fishers and are constructed from a range of repurposed equipment such as tram wheels, crusher plates and Army Ducks.

The CRPHA and council requested a study to address the feasibility of making the bay wider and deeper by dredging.

This would be to allow the vessels to be moored at a safe separation distance.

Community consultation with the CRPHA and council was conducted as part of this study.

The report stated this was a valuable input for understanding user requirements, local knowledge of the conditions and the history of the site.

Meanwhile a cost estimate of $2.3m was tabled in the report.

In a report tabled at council’s April 5 meeting, it was suggested CRPFA could consider a static mooring system.

Council resolved to continue to facilitate with the Department for Infrastructure and Transport (DIT), the CRPFA and stakeholders.

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