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.
What a great 'Save the Ferries' spread in the Beaches' new monthly mag. Have a read and you'll see why The Tawny Frogmouth is quickly making its mark. And as a bonus the witty, little magazine arrives free in your mailbox every month.
Here's Tikky's latest video. It's clear we need to save all four of our beautiful big Manly Ferries.
Please sign the official Parliamentary petition here. We need 20,000 signatures to get the petition tabled in State Parliament and a debate started on the ferries' future.
EIS (Environment Impact Study) for the Beaches Link Tunnel: What does it mean for the Residents of Balgowlah?
The EIS was anticipated. It is just that we did not expect the Government to dump it on us just before Christmas – and after the School P&Cs have closed and will not be functioning until the middle of February. We know that TfNSW cannot hold proper community consultation sessions due to the Covid 19 Restrictions that we assume will be in place in January and February.
A copy of the EIS can be found at Beaches Link Tunnel and submissions need to be lodged with TfNSW by the end of February 2021.
We have had a quick review of the EIS Documents (10,000 pages +) and would like to share with you some initial comments on the documents.
While the Minister for Transport Andrew Constance made the point when announcing the release of the EIS along the lines of “this project will be built, some have thought that it could not be built, only the Liberals can be trusted to build infrastructure projects”, the final cabinet decision to proceed with the project has not been made. There are several hurdles that need to be overcome:
The project has been sold to residents of the Northern Beaches on the basis that it will allow a shorter commute to the City, the Airport and Western Sydney. Never, has the Premier, or the Transport Minister or James Griffin told the residents that: Once the Beaches Link Tunnel is completed, it will be easier for the residents of Western Sydney to drive to Manly, Freshwater, Curl Curl, Dee Why, Mona Vale and Newport than to drive to Bondi, Coogee or Cronulla. Over weekends in the summer, there will be as many as 40,000 additional cars arriving in the Northern Beaches – and it is this weekend traffic that will boost the toll revenue for the owners of the Beaches Link Tunnel, the Western Harbour Tunnel, WestConnex and the toll roads leading into WestConnex.
In addition, here are some of the local issues we intend to include in the Community Submission from the Balgowlah Residents Group:
Prepared By : Terry le Roux and Nerissa Levy
Balgowlah Residents Group
Here's our latest Save the Ferry video. Thanks to Tikky Hes and the team, and all the people at Manly Wharf who were delighted to speak up for the iconic boats.
There are so many incredible photos of the beautiful big ferries. These pics are from the legendary Haig Gilchrist. He's a Manly Ferry Deckhand and photographer/videographer - which is clearly a wonderful combination.
The first two pics are from an early morning in November, and the last one is rough weather up close.
Our campaign is gaining momentum with huge community support.
While State Transport MInister Andrew Constance initially said that only one ferry would be saved, now it's likely to be two. That's an improvement, but not enough.
Manly Liberal MP James Griffin has also joined the fight to save the iconic vessels, saying he wants to save two boats, and more if possible.
Here's an ongoing poll conducted by the Sydney Morning Herald which shows clearly that people want to keep the whole fleet. It's not a scientific study, but it's had over 1300 votes, and mirrors what we hear on the ground.
Read the Herald article titled 'Second Freshwater Ferry could be saved by Christmas'.
People have reacted to the threat to our beautiful classic ferries with anger and disbelief. And the media has jumped on board.
The Daily Telegraph immediately started a campaign to keep our 'harbour queens' afloat. The paper had big spreads on 24th and 25th November, as well as an editorial and lots of letters to the editor.
And the Sydney Morning Herald, which broke the story in early October, had lots of follow-up articles with community leaders, union leaders, and stakeholders arguing the ferries should stay.
There has also been coverage on TV and radio, including the ABC, Channel 7, 2GB and more.
You can help - sign the NSW Parliamentary petition here
The future of Manly's iconic Freshwater-class 1100 passenger ferries is under threat with the NSW Government announcing that they will be replace by 400 passenger Emerald class catamarans early next year.
PLEASE SIGN OUR PETITION TO THE NSW PARLIAMENT HERE
Deputy Mayor & President of the Good for Manly Association, Candy Bingham, will move at next weeks Council meeting (27/10/20) that the Northern Beaches Council hold an urgent meetings with the Minister for Transport, Andrew Constance, over his recent announcement to scrap the large Manly ferries.
“The community is in shock. The proposal by the Minister to ‘keep maybe one for two’ of the 1100 passenger large Freshwater-Class ferries, with the rest to be replaced by three 400 passenger Emerald class catamarans, just doesn’t make sense. It appears that the focus is on commuters and that the large passenger numbers during peak visitor periods have not been considered” Cr Bingham said.
“Last Australia Day we had 80,591 people visit Manly by Ferry; over the Easter 4-day weekend in 2019 there were 257,960 people; and on average 47,000 come to Manly by ferry each day of summer.” she added.
With 2.8m people coming by ferry in 2019, 1 million of them international tourists according to Destination NSW’s Manly Visitor Profile of the year ended December 2019, there is major concern that the NSW Government is just focusing on the use of the ferries by commuters, and has totally overlooked the tourist market.
“The large ferries are the life-blood of Manly. Since 1850 they have serviced this popular tourist destination bringing millions to enjoy our seaside resort. The Fast Ferries are used by commuters, the large ferries are used by day trippers and those who enjoy the experience of the leisurely 30-minute trip to Manly” Cr Bingham added.
President of the Manly Business Chamber, Charlotte Rimmer, said that the Chamber will be joining the Council’s push to have the Freshwater-class ferries retained.
“Our Executive met last week. The economic value that the large ferries bring to Manly is enormous. We are concerned that this decision has not considered the value of the tourist dollar that this internationally recognised attraction brings.
“When you come to Sydney you come for the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge and a ride on the Manly Ferry. This decision is like removing the cable-cars in Sans Francisco.” Ms Rimmer said.
According to Paul Garrett, the Assistant Secretary of the Sydney Branch of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), the large ferries undergo a major service every 5 years. The Freshwater is due for service in February next year, the Queenscliff in October, the Narrabeen in November and the Collaroy in October 2023. They are unlikely to returned to service.
“These ferries are only 40 years old and still have decades of service left in them. For example the NSW Government is currently refurbishing the First Fleet class ferries, which are of the same age.
“Rather than see expenditure on maintenance and life-extension programs for these Freshwater ferries as a cost, the NSW Government should see it as an investment in an iconic tourist drawcard. The double-ended Manly ferries are an internationally recognised Australian Institution”, he added.
Cr Candy Bingham is mounting a community campaign to reverse the decision to allow time for a detailed business case to be undertaken to include the tourism and economic value that these ferries bring to Sydney.
In the meantime a Change.org petition Save Australia’s Manly Ferry is gaining major momentum with over 5,000 signatures and growing, and concerned citizens are being encouraged to send an email to:
Minister for Transport, Andrew Constance at: email@example.com,
Local Member, James Griffin at: firstname.lastname@example.org
and the Minister for Tourism, Stuart Ayres at: email@example.com
THE HISTORY OF THE MANLY FERRIES has been provided by Richard Michell, President of the Manly, Warringah & Pittwater Historical Society, and is attached below.
It's 101 years since the Manly community decided to build, and pay for!, a new hospital at North Head. It was to be built on former quarantine land as 'a permanent tribute to the men who went forward and fought in the Great War', and called the Manly Peace Memorial Hospital.
Now the hospital is closed but the land - almost a sacred site for our community - remains in public hands and will become a health and wellbeing precinct.
Image: Construction taking place in late 1928. Source: Manly, Warringah & Pittwater Historical Society
It is perhaps not widely known that the original name for Manly Hospital - the one on Eastern Hill, not the earlier Cottage Hospital in Raglan Street - was the Manly Peace Memorial Hospital.
At a public meeting in the Manly Town Hall in July 1919 it was resolved that a ‘Peace Memorial Hospital’ be built on the former quarantine land as ‘a permanent tribute to the men who went forward and fought in the Great War’.
A committee was formed and fundraising commenced.
In 1924 the NSW Parliament passed an Act (No. 55) to ‘sanction the construction of a public hospital at Manly’. This Act describes the hospital as the Manly Peace Memorial Hospital (Paragraph 4). What the Act did not reveal is that the residents of Manly were required to pay two-thirds of the cost of the hospital, including fit out and furnishing.
Construction began in 1927 with the foundation stone laid on Saturday 28 January, 1928. The residents’ main fundraising came from the annual 'Venetian Carnival', but hey struggled to raise their part of the funds. The first stage of the two-stage build cost £69,000 and the residents contributed £18,666. In today’s money the two figures are $144 million for Stage 1 with the residents providing $39 million. The new French’s Forest Hospital cost $600 million all up.
The residents still had their asset of the Cottage Hospital to liquidate but they wished to keep these funds for the fitout. Their situation was relieved a little in January 1929 when the then Minister for Health, Richard Arthur, who also happened to be a Patron of the Manly Cottage Hospital and a consulting medical officer there, agreed that the residents’ contribution could be reduced to 50%, as was the case with other local hospitals in the State, but the assets of the Cottage Hospital also had to be handed over.
There was ultimate relief in November 1929 when Arthur successfully introduced the Public Hospi tals Act. This meant that a Hospitals Commission would administer all public hospitals via local boards. The government would finance hospital construction, with local financial involvement limited to furnishings. Stage 2 commenced in June 1930 at the expense of the government (although with the passing of the Act they took over owner- ship and operation of the Cottage Hospital which was sold after the new one opened in October 1931).
While the residents got their new hospital they lost its original name. It was now simply the Manly District Hospital.
Words: Manly, Warringah & Pittwater Historical Society. Newsletter Sept 2020
During the COVID lockdown, Manly Library was transformed into a brighter, more open community space. The old wall, children's area amphitheatre and service desk were removed so the whole ground floor area would benefit from the Market Place windows.
The children's section has been enlarged and moved to the back of the library, and now includes a new separate room for Story Time. While it is a good outcome for everyone, many parents have been upset by the loss of the much-loved amphitheatre area. Their angst has been made worse by poor communication around the change. As well COVID-related restrictions have stopped colourful kid-friendly furniture being installed, meaning the new area still lacks a bit of colour.
The images below are different views across the new children's section. There's lots of space for prams, tables, craftwork etc, especially as the new book shelves are all on wheels and can be easily moved as required. Bright artworks will be hung on the long back wall in the middle pic. The bottom pic shows natural light coming in from a large window sky light. You can also see the entrance to the new Story Time/meeting room.
The extra space means that the collection of children's non-fiction books can now be in the same area as kid's fiction and picture books. Non-fiction used to be upstairs but now that it's been moved, the books are being borrowed much more often. (60% more kid's non-fiction books borrowed in July, compared to usual monthly averages.) As well, there are cute "cubby seats" where parents and kids can sit together, and the new shelving means kid's books are pretty much now all at child-friendly heights.
Story Time was incredibly popular in the old Amphitheatre and it will be back just as soon as pandemic restrictions are eased. In future, stories will be told in the former ground-floor meeting room, which has been soundproofed so kids can jump, dance, clap and sing without disturbing other library users. The room is linked through an internal door to the new children's area, and the council is exploring options such as glass doors to provide more natural light.
The project's not finished yet. You can comment or make a suggestion 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.