Ramp gate option not supported

Headshot of Pierra Willix
Pierra WillixBusselton Dunsborough Times
Email Pierra Willix
The rally to keep the Canal Rocks boat ramp open attracted hundreds of people last weekend.
Camera IconThe rally to keep the Canal Rocks boat ramp open attracted hundreds of people last weekend. Credit: Pierra Willix

Naturaliste Volunteer Marine Rescue says gated or restricted access at the Canal Rocks boat ramp would not be sufficient for emergency services and alternatives to closure must be explored as the facility’s future remains under a cloud.

NVMR vice-commander Paul Bresland told the Times a gate could be vandalised and cited concerns about traffic coming through the carpark, which he said could block access.

“We’re not going to support that,” he said.

The comments come after the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions announcement the facility would be shut down on the back of safety and site suitability concerns, as reported by the Times in recent weeks.

A department spokeswoman previously said the department was exploring opportunities to maintain a form of access for marine emergency responders and suggested “gated or otherwise restricted access” could be explored.

But Mr Bresland said any form of gate or barrier would only add time to an emergency response.

“Time is the enemy in a rescue. A gate is not an option,” he said.

A report exploring the facility’s replacement concluded the ramp did not meet the requirements of Australian standards because of its exposure to waves and deemed risks associated with the ramp were “intolerable”.

It offered several suggestions including the facility’s closure, the installation of a breakwater or a boom gate for when waves were hazardous.

Vasse MLA Libby Mettam echoed concerns of Mr Bresland and urged the State Government to reconsider all options.

“The report, which was prepared to look at the feasibility of upgrading or replacing the Canal Rocks boat ramp to make it safer, recommended investment in a breakwater facility and utilising engineering controls, in addition to the option to shut the facility altogether,” she said.

A rally protesting against the closure of the ramp was held at the weekend, with hundreds of people attending.

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