Authorities say there was limited opportunity to expand the Oatley Bay boat ramp because it is in a residential area.
The explanation, by both Georges River Council and Roads and Maritime Services (RMS), was described as “ridiculous” by Robert Wells, of Bexley North, who joined a chorus of criticism of the costly upgrade.
“Anybody I have spoken to about this rebuild just laughs,” Mr Wells said.
RMS and the council spent nearly $500,000 on upgrading the facility and building a new toilet block without expanding pontoon capacity.
Mr Wells agreed with other “boaties”, who said the pontoon should have been extended or a second one built on the other side of the ramp.
He said there were also design faults, illustrated by a photo, which shows a boat jammed under the arched gangway after the owner attempted to pull it with a 20 metre long rope from the pontoon to the boat ramp.
“The guy was not happy,” he said.
Mr Wells said another problem was that rocks placed on one side of the boat ramp cut off access to the beach.
A council spokeswoman said the project involved upgrading existing infrastructure to meet RMS standards.
“This boat ramp is located in a residential area [and] there is limited capacity to expand the facilities,” she said.
“The Oatley Bay boat ramp was constructed in the same footprint as the previous pontoon infrastructure.
“A wooden angular jetty was removed to improve the straight line movement of boats from the ramp to the pontoon.
“The new gangway utilised this extra length to improve grades for disabled access.
“Also, the rip-rap (sandstone blocks wall) on the side of the ramp is the standard construction method for boat ramp finishes to reduce undercutting.”
The spokeswoman said the council had “identified this as an issue in limiting access to the beach for some users”.
Improvements were scheduled to start this month, with the rip-rap to be replaced with sandstone block stairs.
A spokesman for RMS said the council was given $305,000 last year to upgrade the existing three lane boat ramp, install a new pontoon and build a new gangway suitable for disabled access.
“The new facility has been designed to provide a safer and more accessible ramp,” he said.
As it is in a residential area, there was limited opportunity for the facility to expand.
“The previous wooden angular jetty has been replaced with a new gangway and pontoon, which improves vessel movements between the ramp and the pontoon, while the new gangway provides improved access for the disabled.
“Access to the beach will be improved with new sandstone block stairs.”
Oatley MP Mark Coure said he welcomed the feedback and would take it up with the council and RMS immediately.
Mr Coure said he had been advised the council consulted the community about the plans.
”But, if it needs to be improved, I will ask council to look into this,” he said.