The Fisherman’s Beach proposal was one of a number of options put forward by Transport and Main Roads (TMR) in relation to establishing additional regional all-tide boat ramp facilities for ‘blue-water’ recreational fishing on the Capricorn Coast.
This specific site was ruled out in 2016 following a Social and Economic Benefits and Impact assessment and community survey which outlined two options for the Emu Park site.
At the time of the 2016 survey, community groups expressed a raft of concerns about establishing a boat ramp facility of that scale at Fisherman’s Beach.
Of greatest concern were potential impacts that the boat ramp would have on the character, visual and community amenity of Fisherman’s Beach.
Concerns were also raised about long-term traffic congestion and pedestrian safety as the village centre grows.
Although the meeting this week was well attended and managed, it was clear from the outset that the divide in the community over the proposal still exists and that reaching a consensus to advance a new proposal for a boat ramp and marine precinct at Fisherman’s Beach will remain a major challenge.
To date, Council has maintained a position that it should be up to the Emu Park and surrounding local community to decide how, if and when facilities of this type and scale are developed. That position has not changed.
At the meeting, I put forward two courses of action for possible consideration.
The first action was for Council to make renewed representations to the Queensland Government, with the support of the State Member Brittany Lauga, to secure funding for TMR to revisit and fully scope the previously identified alternate option at Ritamada.
This course of action was overwhelmingly supported on a show of hands from those in attendance.
The Ritamada site option, while more expensive, was previously considered by many stakeholders as a better long-term outcome. It will however require a more detailed study to determine if it is a viable alternative.
The other action that should also definitely happen before there is any reconsideration of the Fisherman’s Beach option for a major boat ramp site is a poll of the wider Emu Park and Zilzie communities.
This is something that could be conducted by the Electoral Commission Queensland (ECQ) to better determine the broader community views on the matter.
Council remains firm on the view that the pressing need for a long-term solution to address the growing shortfall in the current capacity at Roslyn Bay must be a high priority for this region and TMR. It is certainly something that cannot be left on the ‘too hard’ list any longer.