From a local beach to a carpark

On my morning poodle walks with Ari I have noticed how the Bluff Boat Ramp car park extension at the western end of Encounter Bay is taking out a beach to construct a carpark for boaties, which will they only use during the peak summer Xmas season.

The extension allows for an additional 34 parking spaces to accommodate 14 boat trailers and 20 cars. Currently there are 34 parking spaces for boaies at the Bluff Boat Ramp car park, and this only overflows 4 days a year around Xmas with the summer influx of boaties. The extension costs $548,300 with the Victor Harbor Council receiving funding of $242,150 from the state government for the project.The extension has State Agency (DPTI) support of the project and it was approved by the Development Assessment Commission.

Bluff carpark extension

The current parking area in front of Whalers is used by boaties, school buses, paddlers and sightseers and there is space for approximately 60 cars. But with the boat ramp expansion the parking area will be reduced to only 20 with the rest of area being used strictly for boaties and their cars and trailers. So half a million is being spent for the current car park for boaties and their trailers that will be used for 4 days a year.

A beach goes in the name of car parks to foster tourism.

No doubt the argument by the Boating Industry Association the Victor Harbor Council and the Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation is an economic one. Boating, fishing and watersports incredibly popular pastimes as South Australians love being out on their boat. Recreational boating activities contribute to the local economic activity for communities along the coastal waters around Victor Harbor.

extension Bluff carpark

The reduced number of ordinary car parks is important because this reduces the car park spaces for the customers for the Eat@Whalers restaurant. They use the car park on a weekly basis–far more so than the boaties ever will. Infrastructure investment for recreational boaties and their lifestyle win out though.

Gone are the days when a recreational boatie was a male who came out on Saturday after spending around $3500 on a tinnie with a 15-horsepower motor. Now boaties are more likely a cashed up baby boomer who has a new 4 wheel drive, a big trailer and is willing to spending up to $500,000 on a boat. These boaties see the threat to their lifestyle as coming from a shortage of boat ramps and marina berths and the rezoning of marine parks.

Recreational fishers have resisted marine park declaration and planning since the first parks were declared. This resistance has grown steadily with each new marine park or Sanctuary Zone. Fishers feel persecuted by a marine park system which they believe puts disproportionate emphasis on fishing as the most significant environmental impact. This meant that they responded defensively to marine parks, rejecting them from the outset. Their position is that sanctuary zones are seen to be primarily about an anti-fishing agenda, rather than to protect marine biodiversity and increase fish stocks; that the marine park policy is based on unproven science and that it will not help replenish fish stocks.

The anti-fishing agenda is nonsense since the marine park policy is not to ban fishing, but to make sure there is a healthy marine environment into the future with some marine protected areas which protect marine stocks. Moreover, the marine park legislation does not prevent fishing from beaches, boat ramps and jetties.

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