UPDATE: Following the June Council meeting Manly’s popular community Hop, Skip & Jump Bus is to undergo a full review, with the aim to make the service cost-neutral.
(A copy of the survey results is attached below)
This follows an extensive community-focused campaign by Good for Manly which resulted in hundreds of emails to councillors supporting the service, and a survey of users. The survey of 1136 respondents, gave Council a clear indiction of who uses the bus and why.
Lead by the Manly Ward Councillors, the resolution to find ways to make the service cost neutral rather than cancelling it altogether, was unanimously supported. Council staff have until the end of 2022 to report back their recommendations.
"I think the campaign really highlighted to Councillors just how important this service is to so many locals. Our aim now is to find how we can make this service cost-neutral, using it as a model if you like, that can then be offered to other parts of the Northern Beaches where there is a need", Cr Bingham said.
Background to story - 13/6/22
The future of Manly’s popular community Hop, Skip & Jump Bus is at risk, due to the $750,000 cost of running the service every year. While Manly Ward councillors point to the community value of the bus service, Frenchs Forest Cr Jose Menano-Pires says it only benefits a small part of the council area.
Deputy Mayor Candy Bingham, along with fellow Manly Ward Councillors, Sarah Grattan and Georgia Ryburn, have leapt to the defence of the service, with State MP James Griffin also joining the campaign. At the next Council meeting, the councillors will call for a cost-benefit analysis to be undertaken to determine how the bus service can be retained.
“This service must be kept, too many people rely on it. Rather than scrapping it, let’s look at ways to make it more cost-effective”, said Cr Bingham.
“What makes Manly different from other Wards within the Northern Beaches Council area, is its density. Ninety percent of people live in apartments, many of which have no garage, there is a large elderly population as well as 400 people who live in social housing. This service keeps cars off the road and provides a means of transport for those who are unable to drive”, she said.
However Cr Menano-Pires will call for the Council to phase out the bus service by September, unless it can be run on a cost neutral basis. He said the savings should be reinvested into roads and footpaths instead.
The Hop Skip and Jump service started in 2006 at the same time the Stockland Shopping Centre at Balgowlah was being redeveloped, and all routes still lead to Stocklands. From there, buses go to Clontarf, Manly Vale, Balgowlah Heights and Little Manly. Passengers are encouraged to make a gold coin donation when they travel, however since COVID fewer people carry coins, so passengers usually ride for free.
When the service was taken over by Manly Council, the Andrew ‘Boy’ Charlton Aquatic Centre redevelopment, which provided limited parking on site, was contingent on the bus service being available.
At its peak in 2019, the service moved about 400,000 passengers per annum. Since COVID the numbers have dropped to around 200,000 pa but this is expected to increase again, particularly with the recent publicity about the service.
In the meantime, residents are encouraged to email all Councillors with their views of the Hop, Skip and Jump bus service. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally Transport NSW has conceded major issues with the Emeralds servicing Manly, with the Chief Operations Officer Howard Collins doing a review of their performance & defects, which are many and major. (source: Daily Telegraph, 27/5/22).
He has also said that all future vessel's will be built in Australia! Now, we just need to convince him that look-alive ELECTRIC Freshwater ferries is what Manly needs for this iconic route.
In late October, the state government quietly rolled out the first of three Emerald class ferries amid protests to keep all four of the larger, original Freshwater class ferries operational.
It's been a disaster with two Emeralds - the Fairlight and Balmoral - already suffering a cracked hull, rudder issues and a broken window. Propeller works are being conducted on the Clontarf before it has taken its first passenger. The smaller boats are also unable to cross the Heads in rough seas and can't dock at the main ferry wharves when the tide is low.
And now, it's clear they are not suitable for disabled people. There's not enough floor space, especially with the gangplank cluttering up the inside space. The steeply arched gangplanks can be unsuitable for wheelchairs or people with mobility issues. Local wheelchair-user Evelyn Shervington discovered he was unable to leave the ferry at low tide on his own. Deck hands had to be called in to drag him up the gangplank. It's outrageous.
The State Government's plan to replace the classic Manly ferries with smaller boats has been such a fiasco, that the Narrabeen is being recalled to help prop the service up.
The replacement ferries - smaller Emerald class boats - have suffered from a cracked hull, rudder issues, a broken window and propeller problems. They can't cope with big waves and have been cancelled on many occasions with passengers forced to catch the bus. As well they can't dock at the main wharf here at Manly or Circular Quay when it's low tide.
The small ferries have been so unreliable, that new Transport Minister Rob Stokes has ordered the classic Freshwater-class Narrabeen back into service. The ferry, which was only recently retired, will undergo an engine refit before rejoining the fleet.
Our new Manly Talks panel discussions are set up to explore the issues that matter to you.
So far our panels have discussed what makes a suburban village a great place to be, and how to improve and extend our local cycleways. We've had great community interest and terrific feedback.
There has been a tremendous change over the last 18 months in the way people and families engage, connect and use their local suburban villages. We believe that now is a great time for us to understand what makes a great community village and start building plans to turn each of the villages across the Manly Ward into vibrant community hubs.
This could be as simple as adding planter boxes and bike racks through to more ambitious plans to improve the cycle pathways to connect the local schools with their villages, allowing children and families to safely cycle to key destination points.
We have proposed upgrading the cycleways between the Balgowlah North Primary school and the North Balgowlah village and between Balgowlah Heights Primary School and the Balgowlah Heights village as case studies. If successful the idea could be tolled out to other Northern Beaches villages and schools.. We're delighted with the enthusiastic support for this concept from the community and respective P&C’s.
Video of the cycling discussion here.
Work has started at North Head on an ambitious plan to rebuild the lookouts and reconfigure the main car parks.
The original Fairfax lookouts have been closed for several years due to their position on the edge of unstable sandstone cliffs. The new ones will be set back from the edge and stylishly redesigned to increase viewing and seating area and will better fit the surrounding landscape.
To connect with Country, the name of Burragula has been suggested for the southern lookout. The word acknowledges the long-nosed bandicoot and its association with burragula (sunset), the time of the day when it is most often observed. The view from this lookout is the magnificent vista of Sydney Harbour and the distant CBD. Artists’ impressions below
Yiningma, meaning a cliff edge, has been suggested for the northern lookout. From here visitors can look back at the sheer cliff face, as well as out to the horizon over the ocean. This lookout also features blocky sandstone, stone pavers and smooth curves, knitting it into the surrounding landscape. Artist's impression below.
National Parks and Wildlife Service, which is responsible for the site, worked with local architects CHROFI and Aboriginal consultancy Bangawarra to generate the designs. The Fairfax track and the new lookouts will be fully accessible and disabled parking will be provided at the track entrance.
Work is also planned for the carparks near Bella Vista Cafe. They will be reduced in size to provide space for visitors to sit and enjoy the harbour view. More accessible parking spaces will be provided, as well as pedestrian crossings and a pedestrian path. Artist's impression below
Work on the carparks and track should be completed by early next year, with construction of the new lookouts to follow. At the moment the loop at the end of is closed, but adequate parking is still available. And Bella Vista cafe, which is outside the construction zone, is still beautiful and still open for business. More information here.
Manly Cove is getting a new look, with work planned or underway for Wharf 3, the Wharf Hotel, Hugos, the old aquarium site and Manly Pavilion.
On one side of Manly Wharf, the Wharf Hotel is getting a revamp and Wharf 3 is set for a major upgrade. On the other side, Hugos will extend its overwater dining area. And at the Western end of the Cove, planning is underway for the old aquarium site, Manly Surf n Slide is up for sale and The Pavilion restaurant has a new owner.
Manly Wharf Hotel is in the middle of a complete rebuild to re-emerge as a more open-plan establishment with a new restaurant out the front. There’s a brand new kitchen and an imported-from-Italy pizza oven which will form the centrepiece of the new waterfront restaurant. Sadly, the weeknight specials have not survived the upgrade. The jetty bar has already reopened, and the main bar area and new restaurant will follow in November.
Image: The steps down to Wharf 3.
Manly Wharf 3 is a simple timber jetty with tidal steps that are difficult or impossible to manage for people with mobility needs or anyone with a pram or bicycle. It’s owned by the State Government, and will get an upgrade to the tune of $25M, as part of the Government’s maritime stimulus spend on infrastructure and safety work. Transport for NSW, the Government body which owns the site, is carrying out environmental investigations this month, and a concept design for the new wharf should be up for public consultation in a few weeks. As well as being fully accessible, the new wharf will have an improved waiting area and a “respectful design that considers the heritage and history of Manly Cove”, according to a Transport for NSW site.
Transport for NSW is also the owner of the abandoned Manly Sea Life aquarium site and will carry out up to $9M of remediation works to prepare the site for future use. Both Northern Beaches Council and local State MP James Griffin would prefer the building was pulled down to create public open space and open up views to Federation Pt, however other options will also be considered. The Manly Sea Life project is at the initial planning stage, with engagement with the public expected to start in early December.
More on Wharf 3 and the aquarium site here.
Image: The old Sea Life Aquarium site, in front of Manly Pavilion.
Hugos restaurant is also planning a change. It will expand its outdoor deck by building further out over the water. The expansion, which will allow an additional 40 seats, will not start before the middle of next year when the penguin breeding season is over. As the new work will all be over water, no public space will be lost from the wharf. As a bonus Hugos will refurbish and landscape the public boardwalk in front of the restaurant.
The heritage-listed Manly Pavilion has been taken over by the Boathouse hospitality group in a multi-million dollar deal. After a financial collapse two years ago, Boathouse is now under new ownership, and will add the harbourfront Manly Pavilion site to its increasing portfolio, which includes the popular Boathouse cafe at Shelly Beach. After a facelift, the Manly Pavilion Boathouse will open in early 2022.
The first lunchtime talk of our Manly Talks series was a fascinating, illustrated look at the many aspects of Manly Dam (pictured below) and the surrounding country.
Aboriginal Heritage Officer Karen Smith (pictured) transported us back to the pre-dam landscape of heathland, sandstone escarpments, creeks and deep pools, and bird-filled wetlands below.
The original inhabitants, the Gayamaygal people, lived here, surrounded by "good tucker". They had possums, snakes, goanna, wallaby, honey and sweet bool - a nectar drink made from bushflowers. In the wetlands they found ducks, water hens, yabbies, eel, fish and even long necked turtles. Karen described aspects of Aboriginal life, including fishing with lines made from the grass plant, which were nearly as fine as raw silk; and fishing hooks fashioned from mother-of-pearl. Early paintings illustrated fishing and hunting in the wetlands and and a close family group having "a barbecue" at the beach.
Although that time has gone, Manly Dam is still a bushland oasis. Karen's images showed an array of spring flowers, food plants, trees, shrubs, birds and reptiles. The dam area is home to remnants of the endangered Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub, 80 different species of birds, and the climbing galaxias fish, - a species that climbs waterfalls and is estimated to be an astonishing 60 million years old.
Historic images, starting in 1891, showed the building, and subsequent enlargment, of Manly Dam, which transformed the landscape by removing much of the heathland and rocky sandstone areas.
After World War I, the dam and its reserve became a recreational area. Karen noted that the reserve's additional role as a war memorial park, is perfect for a place where many of us go to find peace and quiet and solace.
Today's talk, which was watched by over 70 people, was an exhilarating dive into the history, cultural landscape and present day environment of Manly Dam. It will undoubtedly enhance the next visit to Manly Dam, for everyone who was there.
It was part of Good For Manly's Manly Talks series, which covers a broad range of topics and seeks to 'spark ideas and start conversations'.
On your next visit, check out Manly Dam's Gulgadya Muru Trail - a self guided Aboriginal Walk with five interpretation points.
As well, there's the inspirational Manly Dam Project. Karen participated in this project, where eight contemporary artists from a variety of practices created a new work inspired by place, history, water management and engineering. This film documents the concepts behind the project.
Hundreds of protesters were on board for the MV Queenscliff's final voyage from Manly to Circular Quay today.
The classic ferry is to be taken out of service, under a plan by the State Government to retire two of the much-loved ferries, and restrict the remaining two to weekend-only operation. They will be replaced with Chinese-made, smaller, faster vessels.
Northern Beaches Deputy Mayor Candy Bingham, who has led the Save the Many Ferries push, said the Government should keep all four ferries.
Today's a very sad day," Cr Bingham said.
"What a time to get rid of these ferries. We are left with two big ferries just as Sydney is coming out of COVID restrictions. Poor old Manly is dying from a lack of tourists, so let's get ride of our big ferries. What a stupid idea! Four million people in 2019 came to Manly on the big ferries. They want the experience of the big old ferries."
Ms Bingham said that all four Freshwater class ferries should be kept in operation, until they can be replaced by new, made-in Australia, electric powered ferries, designed to match our large, double-ended Harbour Queens. She said it's not too late for new Transport Minister Rob Stokes to reverse the decision to retire the two classic ferries.
Journalists and film crews joined ferry supporters on the final emotional trip to Circular Quay, with huge coverage of the event on media and social media sites.
Royal Far West's multi-million redevelopment of its Manly oceanfront site is one step closer, with updated concept plans now on display.
Project leader Lindsay Cane said the changes, which are the result of community feedback, make the new buildings less bulky, open up the site for public access and remove the proposed hotel.
The children's health charity says it needs to redevelop and capitalise its site in order to meet the growing need for health services for kids in rural and regional Australia. As well, its an opportunity to open the campus up to the local community, including potentially providing health and wellbeing services for locals as well as country kids.
The original concept plan for the site, which was approved in 2013, has been modified by leading Australian architects, Glenn Murcutt AO and Angelo Candalepas.
The new plans include;
Ms Cain said the redeveloped building plan would have more open view lines, plenty of landscaping and greenery and was designed to make Manly "proud".
Artists impression of development viewed from Wentworth St.
The new plans have been on public display during August. If they are approved by the Department of Planning, more detailed plans will be submitted in a Development Application to Northern Beaches Council by the end of the year. The detailed plans will again be put on public exhibition. Finally, if the plans pass the Regional Planning Panel - the final consent authority - work could start in the second half of next year.
There have been conflicting statements about Northern Beaches Council rates and bin charges, as well as comparisons between our rates and those of similar councils.
While comparisons can be valuable, they are often misleading when the issues are complex, which is the case here.
So, how much do we pay in rates in comparison with similar councils? Have our bin charges gone up or down, and by how much?
Please read the Council's fact check on these questions and more, and our FAQ document explaining the rates system.
Almost $28 million has been spent on infrastructure in Manly Ward by Northern Beaches Council in the past four years.
The big spend has included sportsfields, playgrounds, community buildings and toilet blocks, as well as a big focus on pavements and roads.
Major works are spread from Clontarf (pictured), where the harbour pool area has been transformed by an inviting new seawall with wide sandstone steps; to Forty Baskets, with its classy new tidal pool; and Balgowlah, which benefitted from an oval upgrade, new toilet block and streetscape revamp.
"This is an impressive list of achievements," Deputy Mayor Candy Bingham said. "I'm proud to have been an active part of the process. I'm particularly pleased that infrastructure work has been spread across the whole Ward, and that I've been able to push some pressing projects through."
Cr Bingham said she had worked hard to secure the relocation of Community Northern Beaches to Raglan St, after the community services organisation was forced to vacate its Wentworth Rd premises. The Council came to the party with a $926,000 refit of the old Soldiers Memorial Hall, constructing an enormously-improved, purpose-built, services space.
She said another achievement was the revamp of East Esplanade ('The Office') and its retention as an area where people could have a drink as the sun went down. "I have worked for years for East Esplanade to get the retaining walls, seating, decking and landscaping it deserves and to finally get a decent toilet block. The result is fantastic and it's still a spot that people can enjoy to the full," Cr Bingham said.
Imges: the new Community Northern Beaches building, East Esplanade and the new toilet block
Cr Bingham said that other achievements included ensuring Manly Dam playground was designed to suit its sensitive location, initiating the masterplan process for Manly Oval and Ivanhoe Park, and working with council staff to save the iconic lighting on East and West Esplanade. She also worked on the $311,000 Balgowlah Streetscape Upgrade, as well as masterplans for Clontarf Reserve, North Harbour Reserve and Little Manly and Little Manly Point.
The list of major works in Manly Ward from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2021 is below.
Northern Beaches Council was formed from the amalgamation of Manly, Warringah and Pittwater councils, with the first councillors elected in September 2017. Manly Ward was formed with the new council, it consists of Manly Vale, Seaforth, Clontarf, North Balgowlah, Balgowlah, Balgowlah Heights, Fairlight and Manly.
A Message From Candy Bingham:
Due to COVID restrictions the Council elections have been postponed from the 4th September to Saturday 4th December.
A lot has happened since the amalgamated council came into being in 2017, and I'm proud to have served three terms as Deputy Mayor, including the current term. Good For Manly has achieved a lot, but there is still plenty to do, so we're excited to be running again. I will head up an impressive team of three candidates for the Manly Ward.
Here's a list of some our key achievements over the past four years.
Protection and reactivation of community business precincts
Infrastructure and Planning
Manly's Freshwater ferry is back to her glory days after her $7 million makeover.
The flagship of the Freshwater class fleet spent 100 days in service and has emerged with beautiful new flooring, ceilings and lighting, as well as easier access for people with disabilities, bikes or prams.
She has a fresh paint job and better CCTV security and PA systems, as well as a thorough mechanical overall.
The iconic vessel was threatened with the scrap heap by Transport Minister Andrew Constance, who planned to replace all the Freshwater class ferries with smaller, faster boats. But community outrage, advocacy work by Save the Manly Ferries Alliance and support from Manly MP James Griffin means two ferries will remain in service in some form.
But two isn't enough, and the fight continues to save all four ferries, with Northern Beaches Council voting this week to call for an Upper House Inquiry into their decommissioning. The Council joins the City of Sydney council who did the same last week.
More details here.
North Head is under the spotlight with plans unveiled for large sections of the headland.
The plans for North Head Sanctuary - the central area of the headland - are particularly grand. This section is managed by the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust, the Federal Government agency tasked with preserving and rehabilitating defence and other Commonwealth lands around Sydney Harbour. It contains a large number of military buildings and sites, including the former army barracks and parade ground, and is highlighted in the map below. The rest of North Head is State Government land, which is managed by National Parks and Wildlife Service (NSW).
The plans for North Head Sanctuary would see empty buildings adaptively re-used, a public event space in the former parade ground, a ‘world-class’ interpretive centre, less intrusive parking, more walking paths and more bushland. If it all went ahead we would get an Environmental Education Centre and the Other Officers Mess (the big ‘barracks’ building) would be reclaimed from the possums.
Concept plans for the North Fort and the Artillery Barracks precincts are below.
However none of this is funded and commercial partnerships will need to be made. One of those partners may be Northern Beaches Council, who have already started talks with the Trust to establish a new Environment Centre.
Consultation with the community and stakeholders will be necessary to determine appropriate commercial uses for buildings on site. As well, the site has Aboriginal, military and of course, environmental significance, which must be respected.
Details and the chance to contribute are here.
National Parks and Wildlife (NSW) have presented more modest plans for North Head Scenic Area - the headland's car parks and public look outs.
The plan focuses on visitor access and safety and includes: reconfiguration of the car parks to provide more accessible parking spaces; installation of pedestrian crossings and a path; and expanded landscaped areas for visitors to admire the incredible harbour views. A 20kph zone would apply to the carpark and lookout area, starting just west of the Bella Vista cafe. The plan is costed at $3.9M and is open for comment.
Little Manly is getting some much needed attention with Northern Beaches Council set to deliver major infrastructure work next financial year.
Little Manly Point will finally get a toilet block. The $500,000 facility will include a baby change room and be located near the car park. It's a big win for the local community and something I've been calling for for years. Artists impression below
And the old Manly Point playground will be completely reworked. Due to ground contamination, the built footprint can't be increased, however landscaping, Aboriginal artworks and a nature trial will be added. The new design is inspired by the harbour, and the history of the site, including Aboriginal elements and the point's past life as Manly Gas Works. Construction should be finished by the end of the year. Playground design below
More details and the chance to have your say on the toilet and playground plans here.
At the west end of Little Manly beach, dinghy storage will be increased, including storage for an outrigger dragon boat, and repairs will be made to the boat ramp, making use of a $150,000 RMS grant.
Other works already scheduled for the beach, include a new pathway to run outside, rather than through, Ripples cafe; and a section of the seawall to be replaced with wide bleachers, to provide space for sitting and sun baking.
Returning to the 2021/22 infrastructure budget, West Esplanade will get much needed landscaping work and an accessible ramp to the beach. Landscaping and park upgrades will go ahead at Ivanhoe Park and the Council promises to finish building the 36km Coast Walk from Manly to Palm Beach. This is likely to include better access to Queenscliff Headland via a ramp rather than the existing steep flight of stairs.
Manly Cemetery Columbarium will get a $370,000 expansion with landscaping and more niches for funeral urns.
The capital works are part of the Council’s draft operational budget for 2021/22. Have a look at the details here at the Your Say Northern Beaches site.
Young adults will finally get the hospice care they deserve, with construction of a new facility underway at North Head.
The Adolescent and Young Adult Hospice (AYAH) will be the first centre in Australia to provide respite care, symptom management and end of life care specifically for 15 to 24 year olds. It fills the gap for young people who are too old for Bear Cottage, and who previously would have been forced to go into a geriatric ward if they couldn't be cared for at home.
Construction of the $19.5M centre has just started in a section of the former Manly Hospital site, chosen for its quiet, bushland setting. The hospice will provide a state-wide service, and also serve as an anchor for the new health and wellness precinct to be built on the site.
The hospice will have eight bedrooms for patients, each with ensuite and balcony; and two family accomodation units. There will be an on-site dedicated kitchen and dining room; break out spaces including a games rooms and a lounge room with balcony with harbour views; and a garden area.
The development has been funded by the Federal and State Governments, with some extremely generous donations from the Northern Beaches community. The State will provide $2M per year toward ongoing costs, with community support to provide the remainder.
Thanks go to Manly State MP James Griffin, donors including Dr Gregory Poche and Kay Van Norton-Poche and community representatives who worked to bring AYAH to life.
Construction should be finished by late next year.
More details and video artists impression here
Shark nets may become an endangered species after Northern Beaches Council joined calls to ban them from our beaches. The council voted unanimously in favour of more efficient and less harmful shark protection technologies, including drones and SMART drum lines.
Good For Manly President and Deputy Mayor Candy Bingham welcomed the decision, saying the Council had considered both the need to maintain or improve swimmer safety as well as the negative impacts on non-target marine species in reaching their decision. “The effectiveness of shark nets has been questioned by many, yet their impact on other marine species is devastating,” Cr Bingham said.
A recent five-year Government study found that of the 2,399 animals caught in the nets, only 171 - or 7% - were the 'target sharks'. That means 93% of captured animals were 'bycatch' - harmless sharks, rays, dolphins and turtles. Even worse, 55% of these animals drown.
In comparison SMART drumlines resulted in less than 1% death rate for captured animals. And the catch was far more successfully targeted, with 70% being the target sharks and only 30% bycatch. These lines, which are baited with mullet, send out an alert once an animal is captured. Within an hour the animal is either released, or if it's a dangerous shark, tagged and taken far out to sea. A bonus, is that the tags mean a shark data base can be created.
Another shark net negative is that contrary to what many people think, they don't enclose the beach. They run for relatively short distances and have gaps above and below them. In fact 40% of sharks are captured on the beach side of the nets!
The Council joins Randwick, Waverly and Wollongong councils in calling for a shark net ban, as well as the 70% of Northern Beaches residents, who supported a ban in a recent poll.
While the Council's decision is a positive step, the NSW Dept of Primary Industries & Fisheries is the body tasked with protecting our beaches. Despite everything, they say they currently have no plans to move away from shark nets.
Sydney Morning Herald. 12 April:
Corrosion has already appeared in the Emerald class fleet, even though the ferries are only four years old. These ferries were not made in China, unlike the v2 version which is meant to replace the Freshwater Manly ferry, but the design is the same. The corrosion is bad enough to raise concerns about the structural integrity of the boats.
It's yet another warning flag for the new made-in-China Emerald ferries, to add to the 80 plus defects that have already been identified. And these are the ferries that are supposed to cross the Heads in all conditions to maintain a reliable Manly service! Full article here
The Emerald-class Pemulway, in the foreground, passes the Fred Hollows. CREDIT:ANNA KUCERA
Thurs 25 March 2021. The rally and Parliamentary debate generated a lot of media attention - as it should.
The Telegraph was first off the mark.
The Tele is behind an unhelpful paywall, but it's important, so this is what it says...
'PROBLEMS with the vessels set to replace the Manly Ferry for commuter services could delay the new boats being put into service, the Maritime Union warns.
More than 80 defects or safety observations were made by inspectors when the new Emerald Class ferries were delivered to Australia.
The problems identified by the union include faulty windows and poor plumbing in the engine rooms.
According to the Maritime Union of Australia’s safety inspections, all of the windows in the second generation Emerald Class ferries need replacing.
There are also concerns steel plating on the hulls are too thin to hold a rigid form.
The MUA believes the remediation work required to fix the problems is too complex to get the ferries into service by the middle of this year as planned.
Transport for NSW spokesman said a number of “improvements” that have been identified are being assessed.
“This is a rigorous and robust process to ensure each vessel meets the strictest of safety standards before entering into customer service by around the middle of the year,” the spokesman said.
Transport for NSW said seaworthiness trials of the new Emerald Class ferries were planned for later this month.
“Trials and testing of this nature are a normal part of any commissioning process for a new fleet. A similar process was undertaken prior to introducing the first generation of Emeralds into service,” a spokesman said.
Labor believes the foreign-built hulls contain problems that would not have occurred if the boats were built in Australia.
There are also concerns the new vessels would not be able to handle bad weather conditions, such as those seen in the harbour this week.
“When the Freshwater ferries are due for replacement, it should be with a locally built and designed vessel that can manage heavy seas safely and reliably,” Deputy Labor Leader Yasmin Catley said.
“The cheap junk that Andrew Constance has built offshore are just no match for the Freshwaters,” Ms Catley said.
Meanwhile, state Parliament will today debate a petition signed by 22,000 people calling for the government to abandon its plans to replace the Freshwater class ferries.'
This was followed up by the Manly Daily, which dealt with Manly MP James Griffin's suggestion that Northern Beaches Council should take the two remaining Freshwater ferries on.
Behind another paywall - I hate them. Here's the start...
'THE Save the Manly Ferries’ chief campaigner has hit back at suggestions that northern beaches ratepayers should take responsibility for the two iconic vessels destined for the scrap heap.
Deputy Mayor Candy Bingham reacted with disbelief at the idea that Northern Beaches Council should consider taking responsibility for the ferries, saying transport was a state issue and the council knows nothing about running boats.
“We are not in the maritime business,” she said.
“We don’t know how to run ferries.
“The whole thing is stupid.
“It’s plain ludicrous.”
She said the council was never going to be able to afford to turn the ferries into a tourism attraction.
“We have enough trouble funding our tourism office,” she said.
The idea was mooted during a debate in Parliament on Thursday over the future of the iconic vessels due to be retired.'
Here's the link, if you can get to it.
Hooray. Some articles we can get to. NB Advocate is here
Northern Beaches Review, April 7-13
The 22,000 signature petition was tabled at Parliament on 25th March and generated lively debate. The Petition was presented by Shadow Minister for Transport, Chris Minns and supported by two other Labor speakers.
It was disappointing that three Liberal speakers, including Local Member James Griffin, and Transport Minister Andrew Constance, effectively dismissed the petition with James suggesting "that the Northern Beaches Council undertake a feasibility study or business case to retain and operate two of the remaining Freshwater Class Ferries".
Perhaps he would like the Council to also look into operating the State schools and hospital in our area too! That suggestion is just as ludicrous.
The campaign continues as we now have information on how these classic ferries can be converted to electric, and major concerns emerge about the inferior quality and major defects found in the proposed replacement Emerald Class ferries.
A paper has been prepared by Fmr Global Senior Vice President of Det Norske Veritas (DNV), the world's largest global Marine Classification Society and Fmr.Chief Engineer, Merchant Navy, Andrew Westwood. A copy is below this article. Andrew's paper sets-out examples from all over the world of how similar double-ended ferries have successfully been converted to electric while slashing operating costs.
Major Concerns Raised
In the meantime, major concerns have been raised about the poor quality of the new Emerald Class ferries, which were built in China. So far, 80 defects have been recorded including that every window needs to be replaced. The hull, which is very thin, is also raising alarms.
If they are anything like the Rivercats built in Indonesia which arrived seven months ago containing asbestos and won't fit safely under two Parramatta bridges, then buyer beware. These 10 ferries were scheduled to operate from the middle of last year but are yet to be approved for service, with testing crews warning they can stall when put into reverse during emergency stops.
We must keep all four Freshwaters at least until the Government can prove that the replacement Emerald Class ferries are fit for the special Manly F1 route, particular crossing the heads during a swell. However if they are anything like the Rivercats I expect we will be enjoying our classic reliable Australian-built Freshwaters for some years yet.
Two icons of Sydney Harbour. One that needs saving.
The Protest in Martin Place before the Parliamentary debate
Everybody knows the Manly ferries - they are Sydney Harbour icons. So it's no surprise there has been widespread media coverage of our campaign to save the Freshwater fleet.
SMH 20/03/21: Transport Minister Andrew Constance acknowledges electric power is the future of our transport network.
"Minister plugs electric ferries as network on greener route
NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance says the next crop of harbour ferries may be battery-powered after Sydney’s first locally-made electric buses rolled into service.
Inspecting the new bus, which was assembled in western Sydney, Mr Constance said the state needed to work fast to convert the transport network from diesel and gas to electric. ... more here "
We've been calling for this for future ferries, but we also want the existing Freshwaters to be converted to electric power. This was endorsed by Manly State MP James Griffin and Warringah Federal MP Zali Steggall.
"...But Ms Steggall told the Herald she had supported keeping the ferries “until they can be upgraded to being powered by lower emissions’ technology”.
“The Freshwater class ferries are important to the local economy and tourism and should not be replaced by smaller ferries that hold less passengers and do not dramatically reduce emissions,” she said."
Manly local Evelyn Shervington, who features in our video about accessibility has penned this letter to the SMH 22/03/21.
After reading Minister Constance comments above, he asks why would we buy brand-new DIESEL powered ferries and lock in 20 more years of diesel fumes and carbon emissions, when we could start converting the ferries we already have to clean electric power right now?
We've had lots of support from the Manly Daily. Here's the latest
March 12, 2021
Manly ferry campaign: How you can help save the vessels
The Save Manly Ferries campaigners are launching two last events before the matter is debated in parliament. Here’s what you can do.
The Save Manly Ferries group is stepping up its campaign in the run up to a debate in NSW parliament due at the end of the month.
People are interested everywhere.
Here's The Weekly Times, on Wed March 3. It's based in Ryde and covers Sydhey's North West - home to several MPs in marginal seats.
And the Yass Tribune, March 8 2021, featuring Manly local Evelyn Shervington. The wheelchair-user says the existing Freshwater ferries provide wonderfully easy access for everyone, and he loves using them. The new Emerald class though are a 'nightmare'. Read the whole article here.
And an update in local mag - Peninsula Living on 1 March 20212. Read it here.
Saturday's massive storms forced us to cancel our Save the Ferries rally at Manly Cove and later on the ferry itself. But, the sturdy sea-worthy ferries themselves just kept going!
But hang on to your placards...
RALLY OUTSIDE PARLIAMENT HOUSE
Thursday 25th March @ 2.30pm
Meet opposite Parliament House at 2.30pm in Martin Place. This will be our best chance to get media coverage before the debate at 4pm.
A debate will be held in Parliament on Thursday over the decision to slash the Freshwater ferry fleet. The decision was made without a business plan, without consideration of the wider effects on Manly's tourist economy, and without any plan to move the ferry fleet to renewable energy. We have forced this debate which holds MPs to account by gaining 22,000 signatures on our 'Save the Freshwater ferries' petition.
You can watch the debate live online here:
Thursday 25th March @ 4pm
These hair-raising images are from Haig Gilchrist - who else? Our deck-hand photographer legend, who says: "Maybe not the perfect night (Friday 19/3) to be travelling on the outer deck of the Narrabeen. One of those nights working in treacherous weather conditions but felt safe and comfortable on a Freshwater class ferry and I’m pretty sure most passengers enjoyed the thrill ride home."
SAVE THE FERRIES Rally
Now on board the 2.15pm Manly Ferry!
Wear navy & white, bring a placard, and ride the Manly Ferry to Circular Quay
Come and join the fun and show your support to keep our Classic Freshwater Ferries.
(Please arrive early to ensure you get onboard)
Make a Placard to bring to the rally
Bring a placard! Make you own by either checking YouTube on how to make a placard or simply get some cardboard from Humphreys!
Ideas for Slogans:
#SAVE ALL FOUR DON'T SINK OUR HERITAGE
MAKE OUR FERRIES GREEN KEEP THE FLEET
Below are some photos of the Ferries you may even decide to use as part of your placard.
Special thanks to Haig Gilchrist for these amazing photos.
This is a newspaper you really don't want as an enemy. Fortunately, they're on our side in the fight to save the Manly ferries. Of course they are - the made-in-Australia Freshwater ferries are loved by kids, oldies, families, bike riders, wheelchair users, everyone... who wants to savour the trip across stunning Sydney Harbour.
The Oz edition of the UK tabloid is not subtle, but it's on the money. Read the rest here.
Candy Bingham, Deputy Mayor & Manly Ward Councillor on Northern Beaches Council. Background in marketing, public relations and community engagement. Author of five business books. Former Lady Mayoress of Sydney. Aka Candy Tymson.