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Editions

Docklands backs boaties

31 Aug 2009

Docklands backs boaties Image

Three quarters of DCN online survey respondents in August believe Docklands’ charter boat operators are justified to feel aggrieved by the City of Melbourne’s call for expressions of interest for commercial berthing.

Some 76.5 per cent (or 13 of 17) respondents said the boaties were justified in feeling hard done by.

In last month’s DCN we reported that local charter boat operators believe they should have first right of refusal on the berth’s they have occupied in recent years.

They claim to have been given certain assurances by the Docklands Authority and later VicUrban that encouraged them to endure difficult conditions while leasing arrangements were finalised.

But with authority passing to the City of Melbourne two years ago, the council has announced a competitive process for berthing rights.

Some six respondents left comments:

  • Who would you believe? Council and VicUrban? Not likely.  The charter boats help give a maritime feel to what would otherwise be just another bit of water. They should be encouraged rather than priced out of existence.
  • The on-going saga of long-term berth leases must be brought to a head. Uncertainty for future berth tenure creates a business negative which affects the industry and future investment - W&H Turner
  • It appears there was inadequate consultation.  Successful or effective outcomes require the consent or agreement of any industry. To date, the lack of support and encouragement for water tourism is obvious and disappointing.   
  • The charter boats add colour and life to Docklands and they should be accommodated in the precinct
  • You can’t move the goal posts half-way through the game!
  • I have been operating in Victoria Harbour for 10 years and have recently been forced out of the harbour due to lack of berthing opportunities for small commercial operators.
    The Tramboat is an extremely comfortable and popular vessel that predominately operates morning tea and lunch packages for Victorian seniors.
    Our trouble started when our already-overpriced berth at Central Pier increased in value by approximately 40 per cent, so we were forced to find an alternative home.
    On attempting to get another berth within the harbour I have been told by both private marinas that the Tramboat did not suit their image (even though there is plenty of available berthing space).
    Then the City of Melbourne offered me a space against the shipping wharf. Being a small vessel it was unrealistic to be alongside a wharf built for ships as getting access to the vessel would be almost impossible and totally unsafe.
    I inquired as to the possibility of berthing at the Waterfront City Marina for the short term. I was told that even though the marina was empty, I was not welcome as I am a commercial operator.
    Yes I do feel aggrieved and discriminated against in the fact that, even though we have been successfully operating in the harbour for years, including numerous cruises for both VicUrban and the City Of Melbourne, I have to compete against all other commercial vessels and probably operators from outside Melbourne for two berths.
    Anthony Purcell
    Melbourne Tramboat Cruises

This month’s survey is on the adequacy of digital communications in Docklands (telephony, mobile phone reception, TV, radio and internet).  Have your say at http://www.docklandsnews.com.au/comms

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