Long before he was elected to Kiama council, Mark Way had pursued an extension to the wharf at Kiama Harbour.
Standing on the new $547,000 wharf, Cr Way – who is also president of the Kiama Game Fishing Club – said he was delighted to see his ‘‘pet project’’ come to fruition after 20 years of lobbying.
The new wharf, which was officially opened yesterday, is viewed as a major boost for Kiama’s tourism industry, but also as a benefit for Kiama’s marine emergency services.
The project, jointly funded by the NSW government and Kiama Municipal Council, was built by Sydney-based company GPM Constructions which accepted the challenge of driving timber piles into into the blue stone basalt rock.
The wharf extension is one of a number of projects identified in Kiama Municipal Council’s $3.5million plan of management for Kiama Harbour.
So far just over $1.3million has been spent on the plan, including $450,000 on the Black Beach amenities building.
The council’s $2.2million application to complete the rest of the plan is one of the projects on the shortlist for the $100million Restart NSW Illawarra Infrastructure Fund.
The new extension means deeper water berthing access for larger boats, including emergency vessels such as police and marine rescue vessels.
Cr Way’s attention quickly turned to how the fishing club’s popular children’s charity fishing competition, held at the harbour in January, would co-exist with the new wharf.
Cr Way said already a dive charter operator had indicated they would operate out of Kiama now the new wharf extension is in place.
Kiama Mayor Brian Petschler said the council had worked closely with boating organisations and state government agencies in designing and building the facility.
Kiama MP Gareth Ward said he hoped the funding would lead to further investment in the harbour.
‘‘The council has a great masterplan and I would love to see it delivered,’’ Mr Ward said.