Ian Kirby says many residents want this wooden barrier moved.
Ian Kirby says many residents want this wooden barrier moved.

Locals air safety concerns about seaside bollard

WOODGATE local Ian Kirby is taking the seaside community's concerns around a wooden barrier to the council.

Mr Kirby says a wooden barrier placed beside the Walkers Point boat ramp to stop vehicles driving on the beach has created a dangerous situation for boaties, many of whom are in their senior years.

The purpose of the barrier is to stop cars driving along the beach, but Mr Kirby says the structure should be moved further along the shore and out of the way of boaties.

Mr Kirby penned a letter to Bundaberg Regional Council, saying people often used the western right-hand side of the ramp to retrieve their boats.

The boat ramp was the focus of a major state election promise this week when Burnett MP Stephen Bennett pledged $200,000 for a rock wall to help make the ramp safer, should the LNP be elected to power.

The often dangerous conditions for users of the boat ramp meant that the side path of the ramp was often a safer alternative, but the barrier was in the way.

"In strong winds and tides it is extremely difficult and dangerous to load a boat on the ramp thus requiring people to utilise the beach access adjacent to the ramp," Mr Kirby said.

"As wind and tide conditions can sometimes be unpredictable, not being able to use this beach access means residents are very weary of venturing onto the river which has been part of their lifestyle for many years."

Mr Kirby said this had an impact on the health and wellbeing of the local senior population.

He said there were no mangroves in the area and believed the council needed to consult more with local boaties and fishers.

Bundaberg Regional Council CEO Steve Johnston responded to the NewsMail's queries, saying the council was hopeful the state would come to the table for a long-term solution.

"A safety bollard was erected next to the Walkers Point boat ramp some time ago to ensure boat owners utilise the double boat ramp and don't damage the fragile foreshore area," he said.

"We recognise that this is an issue that has been raised by some residents but we want a long-term solution for these concerns not something that is going to create further damage to the foreshore.

"That's why council is calling on the State Government and election candidates to prioritise funding for an upgrade of these facilities to address the concerns they have raised."

A spokesperson for the Department of Environment and Science said the wooden structure did not belong to the state.

"Local councils or the Department of Transport and Main Roads are primarily responsible for managing boat ramps, however our staff believe this particular one is managed by the local council," they said.

Current candidates for Burnett responded to queries put forward on whether they would address the issue of the bollard.

Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett reiterated his commitment to funding for the boat ramp.

"Being out on the water is a huge part of life for many who live in the Burnett region so it's vital we make access to the water as safe as possible," he said.

"At the moment access at Walkers Point is dangerous with local boaties forced to use the ramp itself as a wind break to safely get their boat on and off the trailer.

"This is simply not good enough, Walkers Point residents deserve safe water access and we need a permanent solution."

Mr Bennett said the area had been neglected and needed the $200,000 works promised if his government came to power.

"A rock wall is the first step in providing safe access to the water and I look forward to working with the local government to deliver this project," he said.

Katter's Australian Party candidate Paul Hudson said he was also in firm support of upgrades to the area.

"Yes, this is definitely an issue we would be interested in," he said.

"KAP is committed to ensuring that Aussies can enjoy the great outdoors without unnecessary hindrance and regulations.

"We are also interested in possible improvements at the boat ramp at Walkers Point, Woodgate, to make launching and retrieval easier and safer.

"I am a keen boater myself, so I understand these issues."