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Planning Permit to Dredge Beaumaris Bay for BMYS
 
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AWARENESS AFTER PERMIT GRANTED: Beaumaris Conservation Society Inc. was made aware of small white notices on the landward fence of Beaumaris Beach Park that inform the public about the above permit having been issued for dredging to improve access for the Beaumaris Motor Yacht Squadron. It is curious that the Bayside City Council Planning Permit referred to in the tiny 300 x 450 mm notices in small black print on a white background that appear opposite Deauville Street and Cromer Road are not in the standard, much larger, yellow notice format that Bayside City Council uses everywhere else to give notice of application for a planning permit. Perhaps that is because they are not notices of application, but notices of a permit having been granted. BCS Inc. was not aware, until August 2003, that a standard yellow notice had appeared before this permit was granted, as the notice was said to have been placed near the fenced-off BMYS lease area, and not on the Beach Road fence of Beach Park, which would have ensured that a much greater number and cross-section of Beaumaris residents would have been likely to see it. 

Bayside City Council and the Department of Sustainability and Environment have issued the permit. The notice states that the work will begin in “mid-August” and be finished by 31st August. It says that the sandy spoil will be placed in an approved defined spoil ground further out in Beaumaris Bay. There is already a barge-like vessel moored in Beaumaris Bay. 

The Committee of Management of Beaumaris Conservation Society Inc. discussed this matter at its August  meeting, and it was also raised at the August 2003 meeting of the Committee of Management of Port Phillip Conservation Council Inc. Concern was expressed about whether the “dredging” will involve any damage to the important fossil-bearing rock strata of the Beaumaris monocline. Official statements obtained since then indicate that no permission has been given to interfere with those strata. 

NATIONAL ESTATE REGISTRATION OF THE SEABED HERE: The Australian Heritage Commission has registered the seabed up to 250 metres from the Cliff as part of the Beaumaris Bay Fossil Site on the Register of the National Estate, but unfortunately that only binds the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth does not own or control the land affected, and it is not a party to the operations contemplated. 

RICKETTS POINT MARINE SANCTUARY: There is concern that the sand would be very mobile and would move around on to rocky areas of seabed, including part of the Ricketts Point Marine Sanctuary. The public should be told what experts have studied that question, and what their conclusions are. BCS Inc. has obtained information about: 

  • the total amount of sand to be removed, which is some 10,000 cubic metres, 
  • the water depth to be attained, which is 2.0 metres, and 
  • the area to which dredging is to be confined, which is between the large pier and the eastern boundary of the approach to the eastern boat ramp, with the maximum extent of dredging seawards not going beyond the west cardinal mark.
TOKEN ROLE OF BAYSIDE CITY COUNCIL: Bayside City Council’s role in this matter appears to have been fairly nominal and perfunctory. It is fairly likely that there would be nobody on the Council or its staff that would have much expertise in undersea matters. 
 
ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION AUTHORITY OF VICTORIA: The EPA might have concerns about the spread and dissipation of the spoil, particularly into the nearby Ricketts Point Marine Sanctuary.

 
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