The Minister for Planning, Frank Sartor, has approved plans for Australia’s largest boat storage facility to be built on the shores of Rozelle Bay. In his announcement on 23 May 2007, Mr Sartor said he had applied "a series of strict controls following community consultation." (Click here to read the full text of Mr Sartor’s statement.)
He said a total of 80 conditions of approval had been applied, including:
A four knot speed restriction for Blackwattle and Rozelle Bays to reduce wash and
Installation of two high-definition cameras to monitor the bays;
No vessels to leave the facility between 5:30am and 7am from February to September, except for ten special event days; and
A complaints hotline is to be established.
NSW Maritime had also agreed that no vessels longer than 50 metres would dock at the adjacent Superyacht Marina.
Glebe Society deeply disappointed
Commenting on the announcement, the President of the Glebe Society, Jan Macindoe said:
"The Glebe Society has fought long and hard in opposition to this proposal, and gained extensive support for our position from local residents, as shown by the 1,500 people who signed a petition against the proposal. Our efforts have at least resulted in an extensive set of conditions on the operation of the dry boat facility, with the main focus being on safety measures to protect the traditional users of the Bay – the rowers and dragon boaters.
"However, we remain deeply disappointed that this inappropriate facility has been approved, and concerned about its impact on the safety of all users of the Bay. We fear that it may even affect the viability of activities such as dragon boating.
"As a sign of good will towards the dragon boating community we call on the relevant authorities to proceed as quickly as possible with the creation of the park and dragon boat launching area already approved for the Bank Street area.
"That our small and almost landlocked Bay has been deemed an appropriate location for the largest dry boat storage facility in Australia shows that the waterways of Sydney are becoming as congested and dangerous as our roads."
The boat storage proposal featured:
- 24 hour availability, 7 days a week;
- dry storage for 670 boats ( 6 to 12 metres in length usually outboard or stern driven) in two large buildings occupying 10,000m2;
- a further large two-level commercial maritime building of 4,500m2;
- (the developer’s estimate of) 342 boat movements a day;
- a hardstand area for forklifts and for servicing/washing boats;
- parking for 362 vehicles in a multistorey carpark and two “at grade” carparks;
- underground fuel storage totaling 100,000 litres;
- 60 layover berths; and
- restaurants/cafes seating seating 370 (including 130 outside) and operating until midnight.
It remains to be seen whether the proposal has been modified during the approval process.
One major criticism is that the proposed development does not provide a public foreshore walkway. Other issues highlighted by the Society included:
drastically changed usage of the bay from rowers, paddlers and temporary swing-moored craft to noisy outboards and stern-drives;
increased danger for the traditional users of the bay;
loss of general amenity for local residents;
increased noise in the recently enhanced Bicentennial Park and foreshore walkway;
reduced air quality from the introduction of petrol and diesel fumes and
increased pollution in the bay from the boats themselves and from increased stirring up of the toxic sediment