Work has begun on the preparation of a new framework to address ongoing issues with safe navigation through Swansea Channel. Building on previously completed technical studies, the project will deliver recommendations for government on how the statutory and policy context, approval pathways, funding options and partnerships can be used to create a system that provides sustainable safe navigation in Swansea Channel, between Swansea Bridge and the ‘drop-over’. Input from waterway users and managers will underpin a sustainable framework.
DPI has appointed local consultants, Umwelt, to work with a project steering committee and stakeholders, to develop the Swansea Channel framework. The steering committee includes representatives from State and local government and key waterway user groups. A wide ranging program of consultation is planned to tap into local knowledge and comments.
A popular waterway, uncertain navigation safety
The extensive navigable waterways of Lake Macquarie make it a popular destination for all types of recreational boating. The lake is home to four marinas and two yacht clubs as well as multiple fleets of sailing dinghies, recreational anglers, ski and wake boards, rowing and kayaking, runabouts and cruisers of all sizes and several commercial charter vessels. Recreational boating in Lake Macquarie is a fast growing activity, with both more participants and larger vessels.
Whilst many of these waterway users focus on the sheltered lake waterways, access to the lake from the ocean is also in high demand. During Summer 2011/12, as many as 90 vessels were recorded passing through the channel and under Swansea Bridge in a day, for ocean sailing and fishing.
Swansea Channel is both the gateway to the lake and the constraint to safe boating access as it continually shoals to depths that can make navigation of larger or deep draft vessels hazardous. Difficult channel navigation affects the lake’s reputation as a place to go boating with friends and family.
Parts of Swansea Channel have been dredged episodically for many decades in an effort to maintain a stable navigable entry to Lake Macquarie. This has proved expensive, and has been poorly aligned with the needs of some waterway users. It also leaves high levels of uncertainty about access to the lake.
Have your say!
Please take the time to contribute you ideas on our Feedback page. Feedback goes directly to the team co-ordinating the framework and will assist in ensuring that sustainable access is provided in cost effective and efficient way.