A $450,000 wharf extension at Kiama Harbour will be a boost for tourism and also benefit Kiama's marine emergency services, according to Ports Minister Duncan Gay.
The project, jointly funded by the NSW government and Kiama Municipal Council, will extend the existing pier by 40 metres, with the new two-metre wide platform hooking around to join a new set of stairs fronting the existing restaurant.
The wharf extension is one of a number of projects identified in Kiama Municipal Council's $3.5 million plan of management for Kiama Harbour.
The plan controversially missed out on federal government investment when nominated for stimulus funding in 2009 and 2010, although some individual projects have gone ahead through either council funds or grants, including the $450,000 Black Beach amenities building.
Mr Gay said the new extension would create deeper water berthing access for larger boats, including emergency vessels such as police and marine rescue vessels, improve temporary tie-up facilities for trailer boats and increase the wharf's capacity, which is limited during peak times.
Kiama Mayor Brian Petschler said the council had worked closely with boating organisations and state government agencies in designing and costing the facility.
"It will significantly improve the commercial, tourist and emergency service infrastructure available in our area," he said.
Kiama MP Gareth Ward said the fishing and boating communities were important.
He said the harbour was "terribly under-utilised" and hoped the funding would lead to further investment in the harbour, which was "a community jewel".
Before being elected to council, Mark Way had lobbied for the wharf in his capacity as president of the Kiama Game Fishing Club.
Cr Way said after 20 years of lobbying he was "bubbling over with enthusiasm" now that the new facility was imminent.
The Kiama wharf was one of 60 projects to receive more than $4.36 million in grants announced by Mr Gay yesterday to provide new and improved boating facilities across NSW.
Other projects to receive funding under the program in Wollongong and Shellharbour include stage one of upgrades to Berkeley harbour; dredging of material next to the boat ramp at Deakin Reserve; an investigation study for a new jetty or pontoon at the Shellharbour boat harbour boat ramp and an upgrade of the Skiway Park boat ramp at Oak Flats.