BY JESS DE VERA
Construction and demolition work has commenced in the Elizabeth Bay Marina Uograde, triggering complaints among residents in the vicinity.
Since its conception, residents have expressed a number of concerns over the outcome of the upgrade, including a lack of public access and the prospect of bigger boats entering the marina.
During the development process, residents campaigned for a public ferry wharf linked to the Sydney city’s existing ferry services. However, it was absent in the final plan.
“Spending all this money and not having a public ferry is sort of ridiculous,” said Donna Shrubsole, who has lived in the neighbourhood for 5 years.
“A need for a ferry service at Elizabeth Bay was identified in the government’s May 2013 ‘Sydney’s Ferry Future’ strategy,” Alex Greenwich MP, the Independent Member for Sydney, stated in a submission to the Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight. “A large number of Elizabeth Bay residents signed petitions in support of a service.”
The choice to allow further privatisation of the bay without introducing more public access has left residents dissatisfied.
“There’s huge disappointment that there’s not going to be a ferry there,” said Ms Shrubsole. “It would have been nice to be on the ferry run to Watson’s Bay.”
“If they had a pool or a ferry stop, that would make a big difference in its value to us,” Bob Clayton, an Elizabeth Bay resident said.
Until the upgrade of the marina is complete, locals are unable to access the water and it’s surrounding amenities.
“The old pier had storage for the local catamarans,” Ms Shrubsole said. “I wonder if that will fit in with the new shiny stainless steel marina?”
“Currently, local residents who kayak, paddleboard, canoe, use water taxies or unload private boats, access the harbour through the wooden stairs on the eastern side, which have been there for over a century,” Mr Greenwich explained. “These stairs are planned for demolition.”
Residents have voiced their concerns that party boats and superyachts, up to twenty-metres long and three-stories high, entering the marina would completely alter the character of Elizabeth Bay and Beare Park.
“What concerns me most is just turning it from what it was to something different, something that it’s not. We don’t want those awful, party boats,” Ms. Shrubsole said.
“If the party boats are going to happen, it would be disappointing,” Mr. Clayton added.
The proposed developments of the marina also appear to have “no restrictions on when boats can arrive or depart at the marina, which means boat parties with music could disturb residents’ peaceful enjoyment of their home, including late at night,” insisted Mr. Greenwich.
“I really liked the old jetty,” said Ms Shrubsole, “but I suppose our concern is the big boats will come in and it’s only a really small area there while the jetty takes up a fair bit of it.
“If [the jetty] is any bigger, or if there are large boats in there, it might look like Woolloomooloo. It doesn’t really suit it there.”
There have also been concerns over the negative environmental impacts of increasing the number of boats docked in the small bay.
“That’s why I don’t like the boats,” said Mr Clayton. “I’d like the harbour to be as clean as possible. I just object to boats sitting there doing nothing.”
The Elizabeth Bay Marina upgrade construction work is being undertaken six days a week, the effects of which are also affecting locals that live adjacent to the marina construction site.
“The drilling of pipes and hammering of piles throughout the night are alarming, and will impact on large numbers of adjacent residents,” Alex Greenwich MP stated in his submission.
“Saturday was bad,” Elizabeth Bay resident Bob Clayton said. “I wasn’t aware, at first, that they worked on Saturday. It was a bit annoying. If you were sensitive to noise it would be a worry.”
The upgrade is due to be completed in 2018.