Harbour Stakeholder Group


Following the vote of the Council (2012) to reject the planning changes proposed by the Mornington Boathaven Ltd for a marina in the Harbour (see under Past Activities to read the full story) , the Shire appointed a facilitator, Bruce Taylor, to interview existing stakeholders and prepare a report for Council on what should be done in the future.

Late in 2012, Council accepted his recommendations that a Precinct Working Group be set up for the purpose of:

Having a fresh look at what would be required to make Mornington Harbour better fulfil its role as a regional boating facility in the context of the State Government’s current investment in reconstructing the Mornington Pier
• Building on the Schnapper Point Framework Plan and Coastal Management Plan for the Mornington Foreshore Reserve, to identify opportunities to improve the way the precinct functions for the full range of activities it currently supports, and ways to strengthen policy affecting future uses and development in the harbour precinct;
• Supporting Council’s preparation of a Harbour Precinct Plan that brings together the results of the above investigations into a clear and robust plan for the future of the precinct. [More details are on the Shire’s web page]

MEA has two representatives on the Working Party and will update this Web page as actions dictate.
MEA considers we represent many of the community who were concerned about the original proposals, so we anxious to have further community input. If you wish to comment, please email morningtonea@gmail.com

Following publication by the Shire on its web page of the minutes of the meetings of this Group in 2013, and of the proposals put up by Stakeholders at a larger meeting on 1st May 2013, MEA called a special meeting in June to consider our responses and to seek support for our MEA position on the Group.

Some of the Members’ viewpoints:
The following are some of the key points raised by members:

1. Representation on the Stakeholder Group
MEA representatives for the community are under-represented – more community members needed. There are no representatives on the Stakeholder Group from the wider Mornington community who use the Harbour – divers, disabled sailors, fishers using the pier and jetties, schools, sea scouts, nor commercial businesses other than the commercial boat hire, and fishing charters. We question whether or not this Stakeholder group actually DOES represent those who would be affected if any changes to the Harbour and its foreshore were made.
There are questions about the secrecy of the meetings and procedures – we are not allowed to discuss process of the meetings, nor quote other Stakeholders.

2. Harbour infrastructure
MEA feels there needs to be a multi-use of the harbour and its precinct, so that crown water and land remains free to all users.
Preserving the quality of water in the harbour is the key concept (which the Stakeholder group signed off on at the first meeting) so no infrastructure should interfere with water circulation.
Mornington is unsuitable for marinas or equivalent infrastructure. It is inherently unsafe during on-shore northerly winds and the configuration of the harbour within cliffs. Indeed, sailors are currently being ‘invited’ in to an unsafe harbour – the state government ‘activity node’ listing therefore creates an unsafe situation, giving rise to workplace and safety issues. The responsibility rests with harbour management (Parks Vic, DSE/DPI, and the Shire for the Crown).
Consideration of all the jetties, including the small jetties in front of the MYC (including the Shire ramp and fish table etc.) need Stakeholder Group review, to check design and eventually, acknowledging some will have to be replaced. Are these in the right place? Are they of the correct materials?
Responsible long-term management authority is needed.
An emergency boat ramp is important, but if MYC supervises moorings, and ensures that those boats have checked their mooring connections (onto boat and onto buoy), plus heed weather warnings – these should part of the permit to moor (a Parks Vic responsibility given to MYC) and would eliminate many of the perceived dangers of shipwrecked boats.
The newly renovated pier and its concrete hanging screens will provide a much greater measure of protection of the harbour waters. Already in mid-winter 2013, harbour waters are quieter – waves still break onto the outside wall but the pier is serving as a breakwater.
There are too many current users for the harbour. However, the Yacht Club states many more boats are likely within the next 20 years. During the past two years however, only 40-48 swing moorings were occupied during the past 2 years out of 60 available, so where is the need for more moorings and a great boat “footprint”? Parks Victoria has stated that better alignments of the moorings would reduce the size of the mooring area. Martha Cove is available for boats, and certainly for emergency boat moorings.

3. Foreshore and Mothers Beach
Revegetation and restoration of the slopes and foreshore behind Mothers Beach are needed.
There was agreement that Mornington Harbour is not meant to be a ‘flash’ harbour – it doesn’t need more retailers. All buildings should remain ‘beach’ type, low key and sympathetic to an informal harbour setting. There should be no footprint increase and no increase in height of buildings there now.
There is a need for more seating, more spaces for cars to allow visitors to stay there and look (especially disabled).
Pedestrians should dominate the precinct – at present, there is conflict between pedestrians, cars and trailers parking, users of the kiosk, The Rocks, and for access to commercial boats, charters and mussel sales.

4. Communication with the public
Shire has stated in Stakeholder Group documents that it wants public involved because this is public space yet the proceedings have not been released in whole. Maps are unavailable. No time table for community engagement has been put up.
Community consultation should have been available from the start

5. Traffic and parking
“Precinct’ includes the whole area to Red Bluff so parking and access for all have to be considered for the whole precinct yet space is limited, foreshore vegetation needs to be preserved, and speed limits reduced to increase pedestrian safety.
Consider moving toilet block to allow better turning circle for buses and trucks near the pier.
Parking for cars and trailers has to be sorted – why should trailers stay all day in 2 slots of parking up Schnapper Drive and around harbour? (where they pay a minimal parking fee); it is noted that trailers park all along streets including Esplanade up to Tanti Ave. and stay all day – we need an alternative trailer park and this could free up harbour area for others.
Boat and trailer parking could also use boat yard of MYC – put those stored smaller boats into better storage, stack smaller ones (as in numerous other marinas). Better use of space would free up areas for trailers.

6. Costs
1) Costs of this entire stakeholder group? Our shire rates?
Further details and further comments will be provided as 2013 progresses. Currently, no further meetings are time-tabled (after May 2013). Consultants GHD are currently preparing plans (based on Stakeholder Group meetings) which will be presented to the Stakeholder Group later in the year.
MEA will attempt to represent as many community views as possible. You are urged to contact us (see Contact note) and make your views known.


Harbour overview showing pier and trailer parking

Harbour overview showing pier and trailer parking

Mothers Beach & Harbour after dredging

Mothers Beach & Harbour after dredging