By Danielle Kutchel
Tooradin boaties and fisherman have hit the jackpot with the revamp of the town’s old jetty now complete.
Minister for Fishing and Boating Melissa Horne visited the town on Friday 19 March to inspect the finished jetty, with works having finished just a few weeks ago.
The Tooradin Jetty is now safer and more accessible for boaters, fishers and visitors.
The structure has new piles, a new timber deck, beams, and recycled plastic fenders.
A floating pontoon and ramp have been installed to replace the old low landing, which makes it easier for people of all abilities to use.
To enhance the accessibility, holes have been added in the pontoon for the placement of hoists to assist people with disabilities to access boats.
This project was part of the State Government’s $2.7 billion Building Works economic stimulus package, which aims to support Victorian jobs as the state rebuilds after Covid.
Proprietors of Tidemaster Charters and Cruises, Lindsay and Irene Mitchell, believe the new jetty will give their business a boost.
“It’s like winning TattsLotto,” Mr Mitchell said.
“No question, it will be brilliant for our vessel. Prior to this we had to use the boat ramp and it wasn’t satisfactory, but I could live with it.”
He said the new floating pontoon would be a gift for seniors using his service, providing them with a stable boarding platform.
Locals were heavily invested in the build, with many walking down to view progress each day, Mr Mitchell said.
“This will be a long term asset for Tooradin. We’re very fortunate with the way the ducks lined up.”
Mr Mitchell’s business is slowly getting back to normal after closing during the pandemic.
He and his wife shut their cruise vessel down prior to lockdown because they “didn’t want to be a Ruby Princess”, and are now operating on a restricted cruise menu to adhere to social distancing – but next season, Mr Mitchell said, “will be crazy”.
Ms Horne said the completion of the jetty was “welcome news” for the community.
“It’s great to know these upgrades make it more accessible and help keep people safe in the water,” she said.”
“It is about getting the community out there and fishing more often and also investing in the local economy.
“We had a $2.7billion stimulus package, some of which was invested into things like this so we could get people out there building right here and now and also have an assert for the community to love.”
Reece Taranto, Parks Victoria area chief ranger for east Port Phillip and Western Port, said the facility would serve businesses and the community for years to come.
“We’re really excited to be able to provide this facility,” he said.