The upgrade of the Lady Bay boat ramp and dredging at the Port of Warrnambool are expected to begin over coming months.
Council, Better Boating Victoria, DELWP and the Contractor are working collaboratively to finalise a program of works minimising potential impacts to the marine environment.
With at least one whale appearing to settle in Lady Bay for the calving season, careful consideration is being made for any construction activity.
“While we are committed to delivering the upgrade of the boat ramp and the dredging, we don’t want to do anything that would jeopardise the safety of the Southern Right whales that seek sanctuary in and around Lady Bay,” Mayor Cr Vicki Jellie said.
“These are endangered animals and, as with many whale species, are still in a long, slow recovery from the over-exploitation of past decades.
“So we support the guidance by DELWP and have press pause on the commencement project.
“We’ve discussed the timing of the project with the contractors appointed to carry out the ramp upgrade and the dredging, along with the funding body Better Boating Victoria, the Victorian Fisheries Authority, and we’re all on the same page.
Site preparations for the project began late last month with storage and worksite compounds established at the Port of Warrnambool.
Victorian firm Bridgewater Marine was selected to deliver the project which, along with the improvements to the ramp, includes replacement of the jetties to the north and south of the ramp.
The project is being funded with a $3.5 million grant in partnership with Better Boating Victoria, the Victorian Fisheries Authority.
These upgrades will improve the recreational boating experience by making the port safer and more accessible.
The project is a critical component of the Victorian Government’s $4.75 million works package at the iconic harbour and breakwater.
Victorian Fisheries Authority awarded Council $1 million to undertake significant maintenance dredging in Lady Bay, complementing $250,000 provided by the Department of Transport to make repairs to the breakwater and low landing, restoring pedestrian access and commercial use.
The planned dredging will shape the seabed profile in the harbour to redirect waves away from the ramp, improving safety for boaters and making it easier to launch and retrieve vessels.
In late 2021, work to the famous breakwater saw concrete render repaired and capping reinstated which restored access to the inner section of the parapet walkway. An older section of the low landing deck was replaced and handrails repaired.