A major project to improve local boating channels and rejuvenate the Cronulla coastline has commenced with the first of two vessels arriving earlier this week as part of a joint dredging project between Sutherland Shire Council and the NSW Government.
The NSW Government has committed $3 million in grant funding through the Boating Now Program to the project which will see approximately 70,000 cubic metres of sand dredged from Port Hacking and placed in Bate Bay to help replenish Cronulla and North Cronulla beaches. Work will be carried out from February to June 2023, as weather conditions allow.
Sutherland Shire Mayor, Councillor Carmelo Pesce said the project will support local beaches to recover from significant erosion and ensure more fluid movement along the Port Hacking.
“Whether it’s a day spent out on the water on our stunning local waterways, or hitting our beautiful sandy beaches, enjoying time on our beaches and waterways is part of who we are here in the Sutherland Shire,” Mayor Pesce said.
“These dredging works will be instrumental in improving the health of our local waterways and beaches, and making it easier for boaters to navigate some of our most popular boating channels through the Port Hacking.
“I’d like to thank the state government for funding this project, and I’m sure there are many local residents who are equally as eager to see the project underway so they can enjoy clearer navigation channels while they’re out and about utilising our fantastic local waterways.”
MP for Cronulla Mark Speakman said the NSW Government had funded the project as part of its commitment to supporting marine safety and access.
“This latest round of dredging works will not only improve boating safety on and access to the Port Hacking for the Bundeena ferry operator, emergency vessels and local boaties, as well as supporting activities of various sporting and recreational clubs that enjoy this beautiful waterway,” Mr Speakman said.
“Beachgoers will also benefit, with the sand dredged as part of the project being used to replenish our local beaches hit hard by erosion caused by storm activity.
"The Boating Now program has invested in about 330 projects since it began in 2014, providing funding to improve maritime infrastructure and facilities across NSW.”
Each year, more than two million people use NSW waterways – including the Port Hacking – for recreational activities such as swimming, boating, jet-skiing, fishing and more.
Maintenance dredging of the Port Hacking navigation channels dates back to 1998, and has occurred periodically since to remove between 60,000 and 110,000 cubic metres of marine sand. A comprehensive Review of Environmental Impacts has been undertaken to guide the dredging process and mitigate potential impacts to the environment.
Dredging helps to restore the navigational channel depths and widths previously established by past dredging programs, providing more reliable and navigable access.
Boat owners are reminded to keep a look out for signage on the water relating to the project, steer clear from the dredge and keep vessel wash to a minimum so it does not impact work.
More information on the project can be found on Council’s website:
Port Hacking Navigation Channel Dredging | Sutherland Shire Council (nsw.gov.au)