Uncertainty remains over fate of Marine Rescue building

UNCERTAINTY about the fate of Port Macquarie’s Marine Rescue building on Town Beach remains.

But Port Macquarie-Hastings council has promised to revisit the issue within the next six months.

It comes as previous plans to replace the existing building fell-through, with no funding to support the go ahead of a project more than eight years in the making.

At the end of their tether, Port Macquarie Marine Rescue volunteers recently begged council to do something about the state of their radio base.

The dilapidated building, riddled with concrete cancer, still stands on one of Port Macquarie’s most prime pieces of real estate. 

At last week’s council meeting councillors unanimously agreed to set back any decision about the site’s future until later in the year.

Unit commander of Marine Rescue Port Macquarie Peter Ellison welcomed the outcome. 

“From our point of view things went well,” he said. “None of the options tabled in the report were in the best interest for Marine Rescue.

“The saving grace for the proposal is the six month time limit.”

Four options were available to council, but Mr Ellison argued three of those options would not allow for the proper operation of the search and rescue co-ordination centre.

These included the option to move the rescue base to the current Marine Rescue boat shed on Buller Street. 

Council’s business report said Marine Rescue NSW confirmed there was no requirement to have a visual line- of-sight of the bar. 

Contrary to that information, Mr Ellison shared an excerpt of an email from deputy commissioner of Marine Rescue NSW which said: “Direct observation over a bar as potentially treacherous as the Port Macquarie bar is absolutely essential for the safety of all boaters and particularly for the co-ordination of rescue in the event that there is an incident on the bar”. 

Mr Ellison suggested council delay a decision on the proposed development at the northern end of Town Beach and develop an amended design to incorporate a radio base within those facilities. 

Councillor Justin Levido said he very much took on board Marine Rescue’s reliance on funds from the Town Beach kiosk.

“We’d love to give you what you want but council is very much in a position where we are juggling needs and wants,” Cr Levido said.

The local charity rescue organisation raises more money from Town Beach kiosk profits, than it receives from Marine Rescue NSW.

Councillors agreed they were simply not in a position to make a decision about this very important asset without fully exploring every possible avenue.

Any future project, at this stage, remains unfunded.

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