ALMOST 10 years since a state government report found Perth needs a new boat ramp, the project seems to have sunk to the bottom of Fremantle Canyon.
And boaties are not happy.
Vince De Luca from Dinghy World in Como says he has a steady stream of customers coming in who’ve had a bilge full of congested ramps, exorbitant parking fees and the Burke and Wills-like trek to find somewhere to launch.
“What is needed when you think about how big the population of Perth is and how our lifestyle is around the ocean, is a new ramp somewhere between Hillary’s and Woodman Point,” Mr De Luca says.
“There’s currently nothing in between.”
The Barnett government has plans for a marina at Rous Head, but it will only supply boat pens and on-shore boat stacking, not a public ramp, which has Mr De Luca fuming.
“Not everyone can afford a marina pen,” he says, adding the majority of the state’s recreational boat users are trailer sailors.
Mr De Luca says parking fees at the Leeuwin ramp in East Fremantle are exorbitant and the council’s parking inspectors so trigger happy the facility has earned a poor reputation amongst the boating community, while its ramp is too hard to use because of strong tides and bad design.
“I was down there … on Boxing Day because it was chockers everywhere, and while I was waiting, four boats got damaged on the bollards,” he says.
Mr De Luca says the state’s boat facilities are generally behind the eight ball.
“We deal with Honda, and they tell us how in the back blocks of Adelaide, or in the Northern Territory, you can go to a ramp in the middle of nowhere and they’re better than any that we have – they’ve got floating pontoons, the lot.”
His comments were echoed by Mike Beanland, president of Boating Industry Australia WA.
“In regards to the Fremantle Boat ramp yes, over and over this has come up and been sidelined by the government,” he said.
“The Port Authority it seems are the main ones preventing a boat ramp on the north side of Rous Head, because they claim vehicle numbers and parking for boat trailers was the issue, however it could have been done.
“Instead there is a plan for boat stacking in Rous Head which is expensive and does not help as far as parking goes.
“Boating Industry Association and Boating WA both pressed the government as a matter of urgency to find a solution, but it seems they don’t have a willingness to do this.”
Mr De Luca said if the government sent boats north from Rous Head directly into the ocean, it would free up boat congestion in Fremantle harbour, one of the sticking points for the Port Authority.