Residents demand Canal Rocks boat ramp be fixed

CONCERNED residents demand the government fix a “regularly used and very unsafe” boat ramp in Yallingup.

Yallingup’s Canal Rocks has two boat ramps separated by a small finger jetty.

One of the ramps is decades old and was closed by the Department of Parks and Wildlife due to its poor condition.

A new boat ramp was then built by the department and is regularly maintained and used.

According to Busselton resident and fisherman Darryl Featherstone, in peak season the boat ramp becomes busy with up to 15 vehicles at a time waiting to launch their boats and bring them back in.

Mr Featherstone said the old ramp was regularly used and very unsafe.

He was annoyed the department closed the old ramp instead of trying to maintain it.

“The bitumen leading down to the ramp is loose and missing in some spots,” Mr Featherstone said.

He said the old boat ramp is popular with recreational boaters to launch smaller dinghies.

“They don’t clutter up the major boat ramp then,” Mr Featherstone said.

“The bottom line is, the site is usable with a bit of maintenance.”

Mr Featherstone also said he was disappointed the department hadn’t used recreational licence money to upgrade the ramp.

“Where is our money going?” he said.

A Department of Parks and Wildlife spokesperson said steel bollards were placed at the top of the boat ramp to deter users but due to vandals they were removed over the Christmas and New Year period.

The department also said new bollards would be fitted last week. When the Mail went to press the bollards still had not been fitted but signage was installed to highlight the danger associated with using the ramp. 

“There are currently no plans afoot to repair or replace the original ramp however Parks and Wildlife is looking into ways to improve the overall Canal Rocks boat launching facilities under the Recreational Boating Facilities Scheme number 20,” a department spokesperson said.

South West MLC Adele Farina said if the demand was high enough for users to remove bollards to gain access, the department should be investigating the repair and reopening of the old ramp.

“The fact that the old ramp was not removed when the new ramp was built means the department should have been able to foresee people would continue to try to use the old ramp at times of high traffic,” Ms Farina said.

“The continued use of the ramp in its current state means that for the sake of safety, the department needs to act.

Ms Farina said she has written to environment Minister Albert Jacob to seek commitment the two boat ramps at Canal Rocks will be made available to the public at what is an extremely popular boating area with locals and tourists.