Marina plans rejected
By KEN SAPWELL
A PUBLIC meeting has overwhelmingly rejected scaled-down plans for a 115-berth marina at Chinderah amid fears it will worsen flood impacts.
Only seven people from a crowd of about 150 who met at the Cudgen Leagues Club on Tuesday night were in favour of the project despite claims by the developer it will help revive Chinderah's economic fortunes.
Residents - mainly retirees from Chinderah and their opposite riverbank neighbours at Oxley Cove - said the five-fingered marina would be an eyesore and a potential pollution source.
But their main concerns revolved around the structure's possible adverse impact during a major flood following a recent study which indicated their communities could be submerged by up to two metres of water in a maximum flood event.
They fear the marina will either impede the flow of floodwaters or break up, with debris and free-wheeling boats causing catastrophic damage to homes and possibly collapse a downstream bridge.
Oxley Cove resident Rod Bates said their concerns were highlighted by the environmental impact statement which stated that while the structure would have only a minimal impact on flooding, it was "subject to risks to life and property as a result of flooding in the river".
Project manager Ian Swarts, who fronted the meeting to explain his company's plans, was unable to allay their concerns, with undertakings to seek engineering solutions to minimise the risk of a break-up.
Mr Swarts said his West Australian-based company - Rivercott Pty Ltd - was no longer pursuing a 257-berth marina but would push ahead with a 115-berth marina if it got the green light from the NSW government.
He said anything smaller would be unviable.
Mr Swarts also ruled out plans for a major land-based component of the development, saying council's refusal to allow fill to lift floor levels and to restrict accommodation to tourism use also made it unviable.
"I fear that we will let our consents for the land-based component lapse in February," he said.
Chinderah resident Felicia Cecil, who chaired the meeting, said the marina extended into the main river channel where flood velocities were at their highest.
"The community is not opposed to a marina but they are vehemently against where you are going to locate it it is in the worst possible site," she said.
Fingal resident Catie Milne, who conducted a survey which found 89 per cent of residents were against the project, said residents could still have a fight on their hands despite their overwhelming opposition.
She called on residents to attend a rally at 3pm on December 10 at Chinderah to deliver a strong message of protest to Planning Minister Frank Sartor, whose department is considering the project.