Marine Safety Tasmania’s Strategic Plan for 2009/2010 makes provision for dredging work to improve access and safety across the St Helens Barway into Georges Bay:
“In the 2008 State Budget the Government announced a $2.4 million dollar funding package to improve access over the Georges Bay barway at St Helens.
This package follows an extensive program of consultation with the Break O’Day Council and local stakeholders from the commercial fishing and charter boat industries, recreational game fishers and recreational boaters. It is based on extensive technical advice on the causes of the problems at the barway and the options for improving access.
The improvement strategy is twofold. The first phase of the strategy is to try and remove the sand that is feeding the barway by taking up to 200,000 cubic metres of sand from Blanche Beach behind the rock training wall. The necessary environmental and planning approvals for the removal of sand was obtained in May 2009 and the construction works should be completed by August 2009.
The second phase is to carry out a program of dredging at Pelican Point within Georges Bay to remove the shoal within the main navigation channel. In May 2009 it became clear that environmental approval for a dredging process that involved placing dredge spoil at Pelican Point was unlikely to be granted. This means that MAST will revert to the “prop wash dredging” process that was carried out in 2006.
The steps required to implement the second phase of this project are to:
- Prepare tender documents for the “prop wash” dredging.
- Let the contract for dredging.
- Monitor the effectiveness of the removal of sand from Blanche Beach and the dredging operations at Pelican point.
- Determine if there are alternative options that may be required to maintain a navigable channel at Pelican Point.
In 2009/10 MAST will continue to develop a safe system to maintain access for vessels to St Helens through Georges Bay by:
- Completion of the removal of sand from Blanche Beach by 15 September 2009.
- Prepare tender documents for the “prop wash” dredging by 31 July 2009.
- Let the contract for dredging by 31 August 2009.
- Monitor the effectiveness of the removal of sand from Blanche Beach and the dredging operations at Pelican Point by a series of quarterly audits.
- Determine if there are alternative options available to maintain a navigable channel at Pelican Point by 31 March 2010.