Vice Commodore’s Report: Winter, 2017

Thursday 3rd August, 2017
Derrick Kershaw

In my last report, I explained that we were trying to fix a fault with the front lead light in the marina. We fitted a new battery and have now replaced the light itself and it works fine. A few weeks later Murphy’s law  intervened and the rear lead light malfunctioned and that battery also had to be replaced. In case you are out after dark during our ‘mild’ winter nights, both are now working correctly, but we have purchased a second new light just in case. To give you an example of where some of your fees go, it cost nearly $2,500 to replace these batteries, lights and regulators.

A task we will be undertaking this winter is the maintenance of the steel piles in stage 1-4 of our marina which Peter Watson informed us has not been done for a several years. A new compressor and needle gun has been purchased and Glen is going to tackle this messy job. The rust has to be removed and the piles recoated but this can only be done for a short time at low tide so it will take some time and involve moving boats. Hopefully, some of them will have been taken home for the winter.

Whilst on the subject of the older part of the marina, some members have expressed concern about the amount of funds the club has accumulated and invested. I recently obtained a rough costing to replace stages 1-4. To remove and replace 25 walkways, 51 fingers, gangway and plumbing and electricity services etc., would be just short of $1.9 million.

I am using this report to familiarise you with an important issue, namely the dredging of our marina, which will be discussed at our AGM on the 14 th October. The marina was built in 1973 and was first dredged in 1993. The next time was in 2008, but it was only the north arm and entrance channel that was dredged during the marina expansion. In late 2016, a hydrographic survey was conducted and ascertained that a total of 1,422 cubic metres of silt (167 truckloads) had accumulated in the 8 years between 2008 and 2016. Several boats are already sitting in the mud in their berths at low tide, some incurring damage to the fibreglass on their keel. We are attempting to relocate some of them in deeper berths but this is only an interim fix. Silt will continue to accumulate in the marina and the problem of desilting will not go away and it needs to be addressed. As you are no doubt aware, we have spent some considerable time researching various options to address this issue. It involves obtaining authority from various government departments such as the Environmental Protection Authority, Department of Water, Environment, Land and Planning, Parks Victoria and Bass Coast Shire. A Coastal Management Act Consent for a Dredging Proposal has to be obtained and the whole process is a bureaucratic nightmare.

There will be a major cost involved, a mini dredge comes at $3,000 a day, but the main issue is the disposal of the dredged material. In 2008, it was taken to the Phillip Island Race Track but they will not accept any more, neither will the quarry, golf course or any other local land owners. It cannot be deposited in the bay and the are no nearby spoil grounds offshore. We have therefore examined whether we can dispose of it on-site within our lease area which is being increased as a result of our Sailability project.

With the help of Jeff Shawcroft and George Reek, a proposal has been developed to install a steel sheet piling wall along our new boundary line around the maintenance yard which is shown in the attached diagram. It is estimated that there would be about 817 cubic metres of space behind the wall to store the dredged material. It will take some time for it to be de-watered but eventually the volume of the dried consolidated material could be reduced by as much as 40 to 60 per cent. In a few years, it may be possible that the material could be removed and trucked to landfill. This means that this plan may even be used for a number of dredges and meet both our short-term and long-term needs.

So, if on site storage is viable, then what about the actual dredging? As I pointed out above, to hire a mini dredge is approximately $3,000 per day and a fee is still due even when bad weather prevents its operation. Therefore, it proposed that we obtain our own second hand one or even mount a pump on a small punt and take our time to slowly dredge the effected parts of the marina. A low pumping rate would also negate problems with dirty plumes and we can operate it ourselves when we want and thereby limit interference to normal marina operations and events.

There are other benefits from this dredging proposal. The sheet piling wall will increase the usable area around the maintenance yard and will enable the construction of a floating pontoon as shown in the diagram. The latter will provide a much- needed pontoon to help members launch and retrieve boats during the busy summer months when our ramp is busy and sometimes restricted at low tide. There is more work to do on this plan but I hope this article provides you with the basic information necessary to understand what will put to you at our AGM. Please feel free to contact myself or any of the marina sub-committee members if you have any questions or suggestions before-hand.

All the best
Derrick Kershaw

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