Pontoon pondering part of delay

THE Musical chairs exercise of finding a safe resting place for the Mary River's public pontoon is partly down to the indecision of a group of the city's business burghers.

Riverboat captain Denis Kerr has been complaining about the council's tardiness in getting the troublesome pontoon finally anchored.

“It's costing ratepayers $300 a week to house it in a downstream mudhole,” Mr Kerr said yesterday ... again.

Mr Kerr also condemned the council for providing “substandard facilities for a very important tourist facility on the Mary River”- his river boat.

“Passengers need somewhere on the bank to shelter them while they wait to board my boat.”

A council spokesman responded that the council understood Mr Kerr's frustration at the time it was taking to install the public pontoon on the Mary River.

“Because the river bank collapsed and silted the initial site where the pontoon was to be located, the council has had to investigate installing the pontoon at a site upstream of the Maryborough Sailing Club.

“Council engaged consultants to design and install the pontoon. The consultants have lodged an application to install the pontoon at the new location.”

The spokesman said that in June “just as the council was to start (necessary) negotiations with Queensland Rail and Queensland Transport, the Portside Group, which is comprised of Wharf Street business owners, asked the council to consider relocating the pontoon - to be a part of the existing Queens Wharf, which is accessed from the Mary River Parklands”.

“The council then started evaluating the feasibility of the new site ...

“It is expected that the evaluation into the proposed alternative site, including engineering and costs associated with installing the pontoon as part of Queens Wharf and mangrove management issues, will take at least six months.

“Processing the application could take six months.”

The spokesman said the council believed Mr Kerr would like the pontoon installed to facilitate the loading and unloading of passengers using his vessel.

“The pontoon is a public pontoon that will be available to everyone to load and unload passengers. Its primary use is to provide all abilities access to the river.”

“Many people are put off by the present facilities,” Mr Kerr said. “Fellow mariners regard Maryborough as a place to avoid.

“Local businesses have lost faith in talking to the council.”

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