Kingston District Council, South East, South Australia

Update - Maria Creek Boat Launching Facility

During the months of May and June, council held workshops to discuss the challenges, opportunities and importance of the Maria Creek recreational boat launching facility to the community. 

Over the past 2 years, council has experienced significant and unprecedented sand and seagrass accumulation within Maria Creek, which has required a significant financial commitment to open the channel for recreational fishers.

To open the facility for the 2018/2019 fishing season, council removed approximately 30,000m3 of sand and seagrass from the Maria Creek channel. Additional works were also undertaken to the south of the breakwater in an effort to minimise influx into the channel.  In total, these efforts cost the ratepayers $316,666. This included $33,000 to keep the facility open for the Easter Offshore Boat Fishing Competition in April. 

Council appreciates the importance of Maria Creek recreational boat launching facility to the community, both to recreational boaties and local businesses, however to continue with current short-term solutions is not financially sustainable and council’s focus should be on providing a long-term solution that is financially sustainable.

Unfortunately, there is no ‘quick-fix’.  It is anticipated that the forthcoming winter season will see sand and seagrass inundation equal to or in excess of the previous year. As a result, Council resolved at its June council meeting to not make provision in the 2019/20 budget for the excavation of seagrass and sand from the Maria Creek channel and therefore the facility will be closed for the 2019/20 fishing season.

Council will however continue to investigate all possible funding opportunities to provide a short-term solution for the 2019/20 fishing season.

Council acknowledge that this decision will no doubt inconvenience recreational fishers, however this needs to be weighed against the responsible and effective use of ratepayer funds. 

Recreational fishers will continue to have access to the recreational launching facility at Cape Jaffa.  In recognition of the impact on recreational fishers, council has reduced the annual boat launch permit fee from $120 to $80 for the 2019/2020 year.  Fishers can also choose the option to purchase a daily launch permit for $10. 

Council has engaged Tonkin Consulting, who specialise in Marine Infrastructure Projects, to investigate possible long-term solutions for Maria Creek and surrounds.  Any long-term solution will involve significant planning, development and alteration to existing infrastructure and will come at significant cost to council and its community. 

Council will explore all possible grant funding opportunities and will keep the community informed throughout the process.