Georges Bay barway upgrade urgent: Break O'Day mayor

TIME AND TIDE: A committee will meet on Wednesday to plan the next steps for securing the Georges Bay barway.
TIME AND TIDE: A committee will meet on Wednesday to plan the next steps for securing the Georges Bay barway.

The St Helens Barway Committee will meet on Wednesday to discuss the next steps in ensuring safe and easy boating access to Georges Bay.

A 160-metre extension of the rock training wall at Blanche Point was completed early last month, with the $1 million price tag being shared between the state government, Marine and Safety Tasmania and Break O’Day Council.

The extension leaves proposed upgrades to Pelican Point as the only uncompleted stage of the barway project.

Break O’Day mayor Mick Tucker said while catering for the impending tourist season was St Helens’ foremost priority, he hoped the committee would opt to undertake the barway project’s second stage as soon as possible.

Cr Tucker said the benefits of the project would not be fully evident until both stages of the project were complete.

“I would really hate to think that we wait too long before we do the second stage because otherwise you don’t get a true assessment of whether what's done is working or not,” Cr Tucker said. 

“It may be that we have to wait until after Easter before we get into the second stage because obviously there are other impacts you've got to consider with tourists’ movements and (trucks) blocking roads.

“I’m hoping that we're ready to go straight after Easter so we don’t have any disruption of other things, and we can get straight in and complete stage two so we can really sit back and contemplate the benefits.” 

Cr Tucker said the heavy rainfall experienced across the state in 2016 had somewhat helped mask the need for further modifications to the bay. 

“We've had a lot of flooding this year and floodwater always deepens the channel of the barway because we get a heap of floodwater in and it creates really strong outgoing tides. 

“That always scours a bit of a channel so we've had a lot of natural things helping this year, so it's going to be very hard to judge any benefits on only half a project.” 

The barway has proved a problem for many sailors over a number of years, with accumulating sand banks making the passage difficult to navigate.