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BMYS SAFE HARBOUR EES

Fact Sheet No.6 (March 2017)

Project Update

Since the release of our Project Fact Sheet No. 5 in April 2016, the BMYS EES team has completed the key studies required in the Assessment Guidelines for the EES.  These Assessment Guidelines can be found at http://www.dtpli.vic.gov.au/planning/environmental-assessment/projects/beaumaris-motor-yacht-safe-harbour

These assessments are critically important. Much effort has been expended by BMYS and its consultants over many years to support the primary objectives of the proposed Safe Harbour Development project.

The EES document is in its final stages of completion and is expected to be forwarded to the Minister of Planning for consideration by June 2017 before its release as a public document.

At the end of the public exhibition period, the Minister for Planning will appoint an independent inquiry to consider the effects of the BMYS Safe Harbour Development project, having regard to the EES and public submissions.  The inquiry is expected to conduct formal public hearings from mid-2017 at which BMYS and people/stakeholders who have made submissions can make presentations.  

Following receipt of the inquiry’s report, the Minister will prepare an assessment of the environmental effects of the proposed project and provide this to relevant decision makers.  

Project Details

The primary purpose of the Safe Harbour Development project is to provide greater protection to users of the harbour from waves generated during storm events from the north-west to the south-east and enable year- round, all-weather access to the harbour. The proposed development has been designed to comply with the findings of a range of engineering, environmental and social investigations including community feedback, as well as responding to State and local policy requirements.

While the BMYS Safe Harbour Development itself is a privately-funded proposal, the project will also provide a number of community benefits.  Most significantly, public access will be improved with the Safe Harbour breakwater to be aligned with an improved disability standard access path alongside the current driveway, potentially forming part of the Bayside Coastal Trail. 

This will allow pedestrian access and public fishing off the breakwater, with interpretative signage and displays to be erected along walking paths to highlight the significance of the fossils and cultural heritage of the area. A refreshment kiosk will also be provided and open to both Club members and the public.

On-site dry stack and wet berths will reduce the need for a large number of boats and trailers regularly accessing the site, with a flow-on decrease in boat and trailer parking in neighbouring streets during busy periods.

The original design of a rock wall breakwater has been replaced by a pre-cast concrete sheet pile wave screen/breakwater, which will have considerably less footprint and impact on the seabed than the rock wall.  The footprint of the Pre-Cast Concrete Wave Wall infrastructure (consisting of piles and anti-scour mats) will cover approximately 1,974m2 of sea bed within the developed BMYS site (compared to 10,920m2 with the since discarded original rock wall design).  

The residual impact of the Pre-Cast Concrete Wave Wall is described as being minimal, covering just over 0.38% of the potentially fossil-bearing strata within a regionally significant area, some parts of which have low prospectivity for significant fossils due to fossil bearing strata having been previously damaged or removed.

In terms of scientific access to fossil bearing strata and sites, safer public access is increased to the Internationally Significant sites. It should be noted that access/management of these sites is outside the responsibility of BMYS; however, the Club will work with the relevant agencies to provide or manage access as required.  Access will be limited within the Safe Harbour waters (which are considered to have regional geological significance) at the front of the Clubhouse area as it will be operating as a marina.  Notwithstanding, BMYS will work with research agencies, universities and the Museum of Victoria to ensure scientific access continues for such purposes.

None of the areas to be covered as part of the Safe Harbour development will encroach on the defined Internationally Significant fossil sites of the ‘Keefers’ area west of the Safe Harbour Development area or  the cliffs north-east of the site.  

Based on the scientific research, mapping and assessment carried out for the Safe Harbour project, which is within areas of regional geological significance, the effect of the proposed Safe Harbour on the conservation and access to significant rock strata and/or fossil nodule beds, including the Internationally Significant sites, is considered to be minimal.

In summary, any effects on the conservation and access to significant rock strata and/or fossil beds are considered to have been minimised to the extent achievable while meeting the functionality objectives of the Safe Harbour Development.  BMYS is currently preparing a draft Fossil Salvage, Management and Monitoring Protocol that will be exhibited with the EES documentation. 

Importantly, the breakwater will provide 24/7 community access for a range of activities including recreational on-shore fishing facilities.  BMYS considers the provision of public access is vitally important to the success of the Safe Harbour Development as well as providing greater access for a range of users to this area, including boat users, recreational walkers and sightseers, kayakers, snorkellers and authorised fossil collectors/researchers.

There is an internationally significant fossil site located within the coastal cliffs and foreshore extending northwest from the BMYS site.  This area can be accessed from Beach Road by the public via the BMYS access road opposite Cromer Road. It has yielded a large and more diverse range of fossils than any other comparable site in Australia. The assemblage of fossils coming from this site includes those of sharks’ teeth, the bones of whales, penguins, birds, giant kangaroo, wallaby and wombat, as well as invertebrate species.

BMYS appreciates that this is a highly unique and irreplaceable resource of significant value to the community.  Management to protect these important sites calls for the highest priority to be given to maintaining authorised access to the fossil beds in the cliff and in the near shore area.  Notably, the reclamation of the foreshore for the purpose of extending the BMYS site has generated public concern because it potentially provides a barrier to access for collectors. Under the requirements of the EES, it should be noted that the management of these sites calls for guaranteed access through or around the BMYS site, for cliff paths to be maintained.

 

Location:                                                                                                               Contact Numbers:

Foreshore Beaumaris VIC 3193                                                                         Tel: (03) 9589 5156

Postal Address: PO Box Black Rock VIC 3193                                               Email: bmys_marina@bigpond.