A milestone was reached in the $44million Eden Breakwater Wharf Extension project on Monday afternoon with the arrival of the dredge and barges, signalling an imminent start of work.
Eden Chamber of Commerce, Cruise Eden, Sapphire Coast Tourism and Port Authority of NSW representatives gathered at Snug Cove to celebrate the arrival of the monster Heron Construction dredge, known as ‘Machiavelli’.
‘Machiavelli’ was brought in for the job from Melbourne, accompanied by two barges and two tugs.
It will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week to complete the dredging work in the shortest possible time.
The dredge will remove about 230,000 square metres of material to create a deep enough berthing pocket for large cruise ships to tie up alongside the extended wharf.
Former Eden Chamber of Commerce president Steve Heffernan said it was back in 2008 when the first plans were drafted.
“Many [people] said it would never happen but we knew it was going to take some time,” Mr Heffernan said. Peter Barber and Jenny Robb took over the baton from Mr Heffernan.
“I was the lucky one who was Chamber president when the funding was announced, but these guys were the ones who set the ball rolling,” Ms Robb said.
“So after many years of lobbying, funding announcements, design work, detailed planning and a myriad different permits and studies, it is finally about to commence.
“The Eden Chamber of Commerce executive is very excited about the growing optimism throughout town as the project unfolds and opens new business opportunities across a number of sectors,” she said.
Ms Robb said Cruise Eden had grown from humble beginnings into a dynamic team now led by Natalie Godward.
Gail Ward, Marge Snijder and Deb Meers – who were instrumental in pushing the cruise industry in Eden – were present on Monday to toast the occasion.
Project communications officer, Coral Reynolds, will continue the roll-out of information about the project’s progress with a number of pop-up displays and information sessions planned for the town.
Apart from the dredging work, the contractor will also install a scour protection mattress to protect the sea bed from potential erosion that could be caused by the propulsion systems of larger cruise ships.
Dredging is expected to be completed by February 2018.