Relief as Canal Rocks boat ramp to stay open

Taelor PeluseyBusselton Dunsborough Times
Canal Rocks will remain open.
Camera IconCanal Rocks will remain open.

The State Government has backpedalled on plans to close the Canal Rocks boat ramp, announcing the facility will remain open and ongoing works will be undertaken to improve safety.

The decision follows a heated public campaign that began when Labor, shortly after coming to power in 2017, announced the popular facility was slated for closure because of safety concerns.

After almost 18 months of studies, rallies, consultations, petitions and mentions in State Parliament, Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said yesterday the ramp would stay open.

“The Canal Rocks boat ramp is highly valued by local fishermen, divers and tourism operators, and I know many will be relieved to hear that it won’t have restricted access,” he said.

“The McGowan Government supports recreational and commercial access to the State’s coastal areas, with community safety the No.1 priority.”

The campaign leading up to this decision drew support from Recfishwest, the WA Fishing Industry Council and Naturaliste Volunteer Marine Rescue — all noting it was the only facility in the area, and vital to industries and first responders.

Vasse MLA Libby Mettam, whose party commissioned the initial report to assess safety, said retaining the facility was a “common sense response”.

“Over a year ago, the Government recommended the closure and after pressure from commercial and recreations users, it is great to hear this vital facility will remain open,” Ms Mettam said.

“It is critical the McGowan Government now invest in making this facility safe as a matter of priority.”

Naturaliste Volunteer Marine Rescue vice-commander Paul Bresland welcomed the announcement, with his organisation having recently built a vessel specifically for that ramp.

“It’s the only ramp in that area ... it’s absolutely vital,” he said.

“If they’re going to keep it open like they say, that’s a positive.”

The ramp has been in operation since the 1970s and new facilities were built nearby in 2002.

The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions will keep the ramp open while upgrades are undertaken.

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