It's hard to believe, but there is no public wharf access in Manly dispite the fact that so many boaties visit (or rather try to) Manly! The only facility we have is a small pontoon attached to the side of the Forty Baskets Swimming Pool, a long way from Manly town and with no parking available.
We have, for example, a situation where children from Bear Cottage are taken out for a boat ride on the harbour but can not disembarked at Manly Wharf so they can have lunch.
We also have a situation where the magnificent Tallship, the Soren Larsen, which is to be relocated to Sydney this November, will not be able to berth anywhere in Manly as part of its offerings to visitors. (See the history of this wonderful ship here)
Local resident of Little Manly, Ray Mathieson, has been pushing the issue for the need for a public wharf for years via the local Marine Watch, the Harbour User Group, NSW Maritime and of course to Council for years, so far without success.
Support is there from boat owners, the public , NSW Water Police and the Manly Council, however, the Council is reluctant to push the issue as the NSW Government, via NSW Maritime, is very quick to push the issue back to the Council with all costs and maintenance to be borne by the Council.
The perfect location is the old Fun Pier Wharf out from the Manly Wharf Hotel. In past years this wharf has been an unofficial public wharf however the wharf is part of the lease to Magid, the leaseholder from NSW Maritime, who has sub-leased the facility to the privately owned fast ferries operating from this wharf along with other ferry and taxi services. It is therefore unlikely this could become a public wharf.
Another potential public wharf is the Aquarium wharf, off the back of the Manly Pavilion Restaurant and Function area. Although it has been said to be too prone to weather and wave action, it is understood that is something that can be managed.
What do you think? Is it time Manly had a public wharf?
Candy Bingham, 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.