Greetings and a Happy New Year to all those good folks who have their Christmas holidays in Bass Coast and especially those located close to the shores of our beloved Western Port.
2015 has been a very busy and productive year for us Bass Coast permanent residents opposed to the port, especially those of us who are members of the leading conservation group, Preserve Western Port (PWP).
PWP has either submitted to some vitally important 2015 State Government environmental studies, including the new Central Coastal Plan and the Western Port Local Coastal Assessment or testified before such important bodies as the Port of Melbourne Privatisation Committee.
Whilst these documents and the above testimony are extremely valuable steps in the PWP fight against Hastings, they are far too technical to use in any detail in this Letters to the Editor forum.
So I will merely conclude on two points.
The first is a recently released report for the MCG trust detailing just how much volume is encompassed by the MCG and the second are comments made to PWP by Associate Professor David Kennedy, Coastal Geomorpholgist, in relation the severe damage dredging for the container port would do to Western Port’s delicate eco-tourism based environment.
The Melbourne Cricket Club has just released the findings of a study conducted at the MCG by AAM Surveys.
The survey team were asked to determine the exact volume of the MCG.
The survey team set up a laser on several different points on the centre stage to get different perspectives before turning that data into a three- dimensional model that is accurate to 10mm.
AAM Surveys found the exact volume of the MCG is 1,574,000 cubic meters.
In relation to the Port of Hastings proposal and the amount of dredging required PWP has always referred to the (conservative) findings of the Victoria University Institute of Supply Chain.
They estimated that the required dredging would be 24 million cubic meters excluding the required dredging in the anchorage area off the north shore of Phillip Island.
So 24 million cubic meters divided by 1,574,000 cubic meters equals 15 plus MCGs.
Clearly this means 15 MCGs of additional sea water surging in and out of Western Port at every tidal change.
With two tide changes a day that is the equivalent of 60 MCGs of additional water surging in and out of Western Port daily.
That is 21,900 MCGs of water surging in and out of Western Port every year.
It is no wonder that Associate Professor Kennedy advised PWP as follows: “A deep-water channel will lead to the propagation of open ocean waves further into the estuary as well as enhance the size of locally-generated wind waves.
“As the coastline of Western Port has evolved under low energy, fetch-limited, conditions any increase in wave energy will result in significant shoreline erosion.
“There is a very high risk of greatly increased erosion throughout the northern, western and southern shores of Western Port including the eastern shoreline of Bass Coast around Coronet Bay and the Phillip Island north shore.”
A recommendation for the site of Victoria’s next container port is expected to be made to the Andrews Government by mid-year.
In the meantime I urge all who holiday within Bass Coast to help keep up the “pollie pressure” to ensure our beloved holiday playground stays that way and does not end up an industrialised port wasteland.
Liberal Opposition leader Matthew Guy and Federal Member for Flinders, Greg Hunt should be the principal targets as they are on record either actively or tacitly supporting the Port Project.
Matthews is on record as stating “we believe totally in the Port of Hastings” and dear Greg, who’s office is a short seagull flight from the container port site, is also on record as stating that the port proposal may not need dredging “if at all” when compared with a non-existent proposal to further dredge Port Phillip.
So one of these fine gentlemen clearly does not care a penguin peep about Western Port and the other desperately needs new batteries for his calculator.
Kevin Chambers, The Gurdies