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Mother nature is often calling the shots

06 June 2012

A bad weather warning may put a temporary delay to what is already a challenging job to reinstate the Sugarloaf Boat Ramp in Coromandel.

The larger ramp at the Sugarloaf Wharf has been undermined by tidal action and propeller wash and requires a substantial amount of repair work including the installation of new piles to support it, a new outside wall to be constructed, and several cubic metres of concrete to be pumped into parts of the ramp which are essentially hollow.

Design work was completed last week and the materials have been ordered. However the actual construction work will be demanding and tricky due to the fact that much of the work needed is under water even at low tide.

As with all work of this kind, mother nature is often calling the shots. Project Manager Robert Paterson says the timing is completely dependent on weather and tides and a bad weather warning this week may throw out the available window of time with ideal low tides and daylight.

“The work has to be done over a period of about two hours of low tide each day. It involves someone being in the water, which makes it a tricky job,” says Mr Paterson.

Next week’s tide tables will not suit as there are no low tides during the day.

To complicate the situation further there is a depression due to move over the country, expected to cause tides to rise by around 200mm. “To put that into perspective, it means our contractor will have to be in the water working up to his chest instead of his knees.”

Costs for the work at this stage are estimated to be $80,000.