Many benefits from Kurnell to La Perouse ferry, says Transport for NSW study

Feasibility study: The old ferry wharf near the Cook obelisk is the preferred site for any new ferry wharf. Picture: supplied
Feasibility study: The old ferry wharf near the Cook obelisk is the preferred site for any new ferry wharf. Picture: supplied

A ferry service between Kurnell and La Perouse would require a government subsidy, and new wharves would cost $17 million, a draft feasibility study has found.

However, the study found “numerous indirect social, economic and tourism benefits...could provide a compelling case for justifying any direct economic revenue shortfall”.

Still standing: The former ferry shelter at Kurnell.

Still standing: The former ferry shelter at Kurnell.

The study said commercial operators had expressed interest in transporting tourists from La Perouse to Kurnell, offshore whale watching and excursions around Botany Bay.

Transport for NSW, which commissioned the study, invited community feedback by Friday, August 12.

Cronulla MP and Environment Minister Mark Speakman, who has pushed for a ferry service to be operating by the 250th anniversary of Cook’s landing in 2020, encouraged the community to comment.

Preffered wharf location: The old ferry wharf near the Cook obelisk and viewing platform. Picture: supplied

Preffered wharf location: The old ferry wharf near the Cook obelisk and viewing platform. Picture: supplied

Mr Speakman said the proposed service would re-establish long standing historic and community connections.

Access to the historic precinct at Kurnell would be much improved and arriving by boat would provide an alternative view of the area’s beauty.

A passenger ferry service operated between La Perouse and Kurnell from the 1890s until 1974 when the wharves were severely damaged by the major storm that also devastated Cronulla beaches and the baths at Brighton-Le-Sands.

The study found the preferred wharf locations for new wharves were the site of the old ferry wharf at La Perouse, near the Cook obelisk and viewing platform, and the southern end of Frenchman’s Bay at La Perouse.

”A total infrastructure capital cost for the two wharf locations is estimated to be in the order of $17 million,” the study said.

“Whole of life asset maintenance costs will also apply.” 

The study said a preliminary assessment suggested there was likely to be no significant environmental and other impacts that could not be appropriately managed and mitigated.

“A ferry service between La Perouse and Kurnell will probably primarily need to be a tourist shuttle as it is not likely to be commercially viable for commuters only,” it said.

“Some form of government assistance would likely be required to facilitate establishment of a ferry service.

“Establishing a ferry service is expected to provide numerous indirect social, economic and tourism benefits for La Perouse, Kurnell and wider Sydney that could provide a compelling case for justifying any direct economic revenue shortfall associated  with its implementation and operation.”

The study said, should the project be progressed, a business case should be undertaken to better quantify the indirect benefits. 

It said complementary measures to maximise the patronage potential could be considered.

They could include increasing and synchronising connecting bus services, revitalising tourist attractions and effective marketing engagement.

 The study said supplementary water linkages could be introduced to other locations in Botany Bay, such as  Brighton-Le-Sands and near Sydney Airport, but new wharves would be needed.

The study included a case study of the Cronulla to Bundeena ferry service, which caters for both commuters and tourists.

“Between July 2014 and June 2015 the service attracted more than 213,000 passengers,” the study said.

“It is understood the NSW Government partially subsidises concession tickets on this service.” 

View the study at: transport.nsw.gov.au/projects-laperouse-and-kurnell-ferry-wharves

Feedback can be submitted by emailing: projects@transport.nsw.gov.au or writing to: La Perouse and Kurnell Ferry Wharves, Transport for NSW, PO Box K659, Haymarket NSW 1240.

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