People power wins out for new South West boat ramp

In a big win for the South West boat fishing community, the State Government has released a tender to build a new boat ramp and jetty at Canal Rocks, near Yallingup.

Hundreds of South West locals rallied against State Government plans to close the boat ramp at Canal Rocks in October 2017.

“With recfishers spending $2.4 billion on fishing every year, this is exactly the kind of fishing infrastructure upgrade our community deserves and expects to see happening and we want to see more of it,” Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland said.

However, almost three years ago, it was looking like there wouldn’t be a boat ramp at Canal Rocks to upgrade after the State Government revealed it was slated to be closed due to its poor condition.

The mooted boat ramp closure spurred the South West boating and fishing community to launch a spirited fight to save the important infrastructure.

The community wasn’t going to accept the closure lying down as the ramp provides fishers direct access to launch boats on the westerly side of Cape Naturaliste into oceanic waters.

It also plays a critical role in fishing and boating safety allowing Naturaliste Volunteer Marine Rescue vessels to respond much quicker to emergencies in open ocean than if they had to launch from Geographe Bay and steam around the cape.

In November 2017, hundreds of passionate recfishers and community members rallied at Canal Rocks to voice their strong opposition to the planned closure.

In addition, more than 4,000 people signed petitions to save the boat ramp.

Both community and Recfishwest campaigned hard to keep the ramp open prompting an independent risk assessment of the structure to be carried out.

Its findings, released in March last year, recommended the Canal Rocks boat ramp remain open for public use.

The tender announcement for a radically upgraded ramp is the icing on the cake for the South West community which have fought for the Canal Rocks boat ramp.

The Government expects the new ramp and jetty to be completed by the end of the year.

A new boat ramp and jetty at Canal Rocks will benefit the South West boat fishing community.

Dr Rowland said once the ramp and jetty was built, it would give the community the kind of quality boating facility, they deserve and need.

“We are proud to have worked alongside the community and to have supported their bid to ensure this important asset remains at Canal Rocks for everyone to utilise, which not only benefits recfishers, but is also crucial for marine safety in the area,” Dr Rowland said.

“Given the expanse of WA’s coastline and the fact one in three West Aussies fish, there are relatively very few boat ramp facilities available for use and we will continue to work as your peak sector body to make sure they are kept open, expanded, upgraded and maintained to a high standard.

“The announced upgraded Canal Rocks ramp is very much a win in that regard – so a big Recfishwest shout-out to all involved, we all sent the Government a very clear message and to their credit they listened and acted!”