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Mayor refutes Costigan’s boat ramp claims

By Mark Beale

WHITSUNDAY mayor Jennifer Whitney has refuted State MP Jason Costigan’s recent claims that Council could have upgraded the Cannonvale / Volunteer Marine Rescue (VMR) boat ramp using a share of its Royalties for the Regions funds.

Mr Costigan made the statement when the ramp again re-surfaced as an election issue (Whitsunday Times, January 15), saying Council had chosen to use the money for upgrading the road to Collinsville instead.

“Suffice to say, that Royalties to the Regions funding could have been used to deliver an outcome for boaties right here in the heart of the Whitsundays so if people have a beef about that they should direct their enquiries to the local government,” Mr Costigan said at the time.

Cr Whitney however, says the Whisper Bay / VMR boat ramp project is not eligible under the Royalties for the Regions funding criteria.

“The $10 million in Royalties for the Regions funding Council received for the upgrade of the Bowen Developmental Road was under the Roads to Resources category, which states that ‘Roads to Resources funding aims to enhance the safety, connectivity and capacity of roads servicing resource communities’,” she said.

Cr Whitney was also keen to point out that Council secured a $1 million grant over four years from the State Government under the Marine Infrastructure Capital Maintenance Program, for the boat ramp in December 2012.

“This funding was secured due to the continued lobbying of the State Government by Council and former Councillor Kevin Collins, including gaining a commitment for funding at the Whitsunday Community Cabinet meeting in August 2012,” she said.

Late last year Council engaged Cardno to undertake a cost estimate study to install a breakwater and widen the boat ramp, which Cardno estimated at $3 million. Cr Whitney said this was revised down from the original $6.64 million project proposed in 2012 and Council believed it would make the upgrade more achievable.

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