Salt Creek suffering silt situation

John Drexel of the Salt Creek Remediation Working Party (SCRWP) addressed Adelaide Plains Council at the December 17 general meeting on the need to remediate a portion of Salt Creek and provide modifications to the Middle Beach boat ramp, requesting council’s support for the project.

SCRWP wants to return the creek to its original deep-water condition allowing for water sports such as kayaking, swimming and fishing, and to also modify the boat ramp so both lanes can be used at all tidal heights.

The twin-lane boat ramp with central floating pontoon was opened at Middle Beach in September 2010 and has since been plagued with shellgrit and seagrass build-up, hindering boats from being launched or retrieved from the western side of the floating pontoon, with the 300-metre portion of Salt Creek adjacent to the boat ramp being choked up with the same materials.

SCRWP was formed in 2013 and has examined many approaches to providing better community and boating facilities, community grants facilitating studies and discussions on the creek to best address the issue at hand.

“We want to give the people back their beach and allow boaties to launch and retrieve safely,” Mr Drexel said.

“This council is one of the few councils in the state that doesn’t have a local swimming centre.”

“This is it.

“We’re trying to get better access around the boat ramp, because right now it’s almost useless.

“The ramp was inadequately built in the wrong spot and wrong orientation, trapping shellgrit on the incoming tide, with not enough outgoing tide to take it all out.

“Kids have been picking up the rocks- rip rap, and throwing them into the water, so there is no effective buffering on either side of the boat ramp.

“Props and skegs from motors have just snapped off because of rocks being thrown into the creek.

“Cars have been bogged up the ramp, as the sea grass is being pushed up.

“We have got to fix this.

The ramp is cleaned infrequently by council, the shellgrit and seagrass removed being dumped behind the toilet block in the carpark.

Through a community partnership grant and through the Two Wells Regional Action Team (TWRAT), the working party has raised $7000 and had a detailed topographic survey of the creek environs completed, identifying about 4000 cubic meters of material needing to be removed.

SCRWP has identified the old shellgrit pit at the northern end of the beach to take what is cleaned out of Salt Creek, providing revegetation and rehabilitation to the pit and returning the water to a deeper depth.

However, before the creek can be remediated, a decision and course of action on the boat ramp will need to be decided, “otherwise there’s no point doing anything else,” Mr Drexel told the chamber.

A hydrological engineer would be required to provide possible options for the boat ramp solution, however computer-based modelling to assess the area is needed and could cost as much as $40,000.

Monies are still being sought to fund the computer modelling and after a preferred option is defined, funding to carry out the cleaning and modifications around the ramp will be sought from a number of community grants and

Mr Drexel stated council has to make a determination on their level of support for SCRWP and the project, asking council to consider the future composition and terms of reference for SCRWP, continued clerical support for the project, assistance to source an engineer to carry out digital modelling of the boat ramp environs, and ongoing ramp cleaning and maintenance.

“We’ve invested a lot of time and a lot of money, and we are asking you to help support the working party,” he said.

Councillor Keen moved a motion requesting the CEO bring back a report on the current status of the SCRWP, and for the report to address the discussion items raised by Mr John Drexel.

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