by Penny Robins
Hunters Hill Sailing Club's new $193,500 public pontoon, in Woolwich on the Parramatta River, will be officially opened on Saturday.
NSW Transport Roads and Maritime services
Roads and Maritime Services Maritime Director Tony Middleton said the pontoon was partially funded by the Roads and Maritime Services’ Better Boating Program (BBP) under the Sharing Sydney Harbour Access Program (SSHAP).
'The new floating pontoon and gangway is the only such facility in the area and will provide safer access for all boaters in Sydney Harbour,' Mr Middleton said
'It has been built next to the boat ramp at the Hunters Hill Sailing Club and will be used by the sailing club for year-round sailing activities. The design also allows for assisted disability access.'
Mr Middleton said the pontoon would be available for use by the general public as a pick up and drop off point in Woolwich and Clarkes Point Reserve, with a maximum 15 minute stay. It has a draft of 85cm.
The sailing club was successful in its application in the 2010/11 round of SSHAP funding for the amount of $96,735.
Hunters Hill Sailing Club President Andrew Curtin said the club raised the remainder of the money needed to build the pontoon in donations from club members and the local sailing fraternity.
'The new pontoon provides safer access to the water and will allow the club to more easily host sailing regattas with other sailing clubs in the area,' Mr Curtin said.
'Over the club’s 50-year history, our junior sailors especially have often run into trouble with launching and retrieving their dinghies from our concrete ramp. The pontoon will change that.
'Those accessing the club’s coaching and rescue boats or launching and retrieving sailing vessels no longer need to worry about high wash, rocks and oysters posing safety issues.'
The pontoon is in addition to the club’s boat storage, parking, grassed rigging area and boat ramp.
Since 1998, more than $35 million in grants has been provided by the State Government to support more than 600 maritime infrastructure projects across NSW.
Roads and Maritime Services website