The new ferry service between Cape Jervis and Kangaroo Island should begin by mid-April now that dredging of the Cape Jervis port and boat ramp area has begun.
Kangaroo Island Connect (KIC), the company behind the ferry, started dredging at Cape Jervis on Tuesday, April 10. Assuming the process goes well, dredging will be done by the end of the week so a limited service can begin on Monday, April 16.
KIC managing director David Harris hoped to have an initial twice-daily winter service between Cape Jervis and Penneshaw, using the existing boarding facilities at Cape Jervis.
KIC would work with District Council of Yankalilla to improve boarding facilities over winter so more services were offered in summer.
“It’s taken four months to get through the EPA, which has been frustrating,” he said.
Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI) confirmed KIC had full approval, including EPA directions, to dredge the seabed area adjoining the boat ramp to achieve water depths that can accommodate the KIC vessel.
“The resultant depths will approximate those measured at that location in 2003,” a DPTI spokesperson said.
“KIC has conditional approval from DPTI to reposition some rocks on the breakwater adjoining the boat ramp to implement the dredging method to meet EPA requirements.”
KIC has lodged a development application with Yankalilla council for construction of a dedicated berth near the boat ramp, the DPTI spokesperson said.
A council-issued statement on Friday, April 6 also confirmed dredging was starting, with the spoil to be located on government land, north of the port area.
“A Dredging Management Plan and Environmental Management Plan for this work has been prepared and approved to ensure that the environment is taken into account,” the statement said.
“The good news is that the approved dredging work will increase the water depth at low tide to around 1.5 to 1.7 metres deep within the Basin between the boat ramp and the nearby breakwater.
“This will be beneficial to many boat users and will substantially improve access on the water, to and from the boat ramp by vessels being launched and retrieved, as well as allowing the new ferry to begin passenger pick-ups and drop offs according to their proposed operating schedule.”