Channel to be dredged again

A new Swansea Channel dredging project will begin this week to improve navigation for boaties.

Dredge Up: Yachtie Keith Vandervliet believes Lake Macquarie should have a maintenance dredge. Picture: Damon Cronshaw

Swansea MP Yasmin Catley was pleased that the NSW government had “listened to the community’s call” to dredge the channel before the holiday period.

Ms Catley (Labor) raised concerns with the Coalition government last month.

“To his credit, [Hunter] parliamentary secretary Scot MacDonald has listened and taken action,” Ms Catley said.

The government completed a $2.5 million dredging project in February.

Mr MacDonald said that project was successful, but a strategy for the channel noted that “ongoing maintenance would be necessary”.

Lake Macquarie Yacht Club member Keith Vandervliet said “I think the answer is a maintenance dredge [in the lake]”.

MrVandervlietsaidthelakewas“brilliantforcompetitionsailing”,butmanyclubsfromoutsidetheareaavoided it because of concerns about the channel.

Charlestown yachtie Robert Black welcomed more dredging for the channel, but was disappointed it was needed following completion of the recentproject.

Nevertheless, Mr Black said the dredging was particularly good news because “we didn’t think the government had any money to spend”.

He said the government should explore more options to improve the channel.

Charlestown yachtie Robert Black welcomed more dredging for Swansea Channel, but was disappointed that it was needed following a big project that finished in February this year. Picture: Damon Cronshaw

Ms Catley said the dredging announcement was welcome, but there was more to do “to ensure we have an ongoing solution to maintain the channel”.

Mr MacDonald said the NSW government was conducting “a sand tracing study of Swansea Channel to help gain a better understanding of sand movement between the bridge and drop-over into Lake Macquarie”.

“Swansea Channel is highly dynamic and this information will be used to develop future sand management strategies for maintaining a navigable channel,” Mr MacDonald said.

He said the maintenance dredging would reduce a sand shoal that reformed in the navigation channel near the southern entrance to Swan Bay.

The government engaged Hunter Wharf and Barge to do the work.

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