ex HMAS Canberra Site Concerns Appear Resolved

Thursday, 30 April 2009: VARS News Update

Thursday, 30 April 2009: VARS News Update

In Brief

  • Ship preparation is well advanced and looking great
  • Concerns regarding the proposed site appear to be resolved
  • Scuttling date is yet to be confirmed — however formal project timelines being worked to by Government agencies indicate mid-July
  • Site management process being worked through by Parks Victoria
  • VARS has expressed our strong concern about lack of consultation

Sub-Committee Reports

Communication - Convenor: Mike Reed
VARS expressed its strong concern over a lack of consultation with relevant government authorities over the past several months. We have previously reported a very good relationship with DSE who have been primarily responsible for the project so far. However, in these late stages of the project, other government departments (state and federal) have become involved and VARS has been distanced. A strongly worded letter was sent to relevant politicians and departmental managers reminding them of VARS ability to effectively represent the dive industry, to provide expert advice and of our need to be closely involved. We were particularly concerned given that the project appeared to be foundering due to lack of understanding of key issues related to the site and to standard safe diving practices applied in Victoria.

This situation now appears to have been remedied and VARS is once again meeting regularly with relevant parties and participating in workshops to find solutions to issues that are raised.

We will continue to be actively involved to ensure that the project maintains momentum.

Site Management - Convenor: Alan Beckhurst
In recent meetings with Parks Victoria, Tourism Victoria and Department of Sustainability and Environment VARS has been advised that the various concerns raised regarding the proposed site have now been resolved. The site has yet to be signed off by DEWHA and the Sea Dumping permit issued. However, there are no negatives at this stage.

VARS has provided Parks Victoria with assistance in developing a risk management plan for the site through provision of a draft discussion document. This will be further worked through by Parks Victoria with key stakeholders and then finalised within the overall management plan. It is expected that the final plan will include moorings and a booking system to ensure equitable and safe access to the site.

Ship Preparation - Convenor: Jason Salter
As previously reported, ship preparation is now all but complete. A proposal is still being worked through to retain the mast structure. This will need to be cut short and re-attached. Funding for this has been investigated. VARS regards this as a very important feature, both for safety purposes (better enable to conduct safety stops) and for aesthetics of the finished wreck.

Fund Raising / Membership - Convenor: Warrick McDonald
No new activities. The T-shirts ordered by various members are now available for collection.

Marketing / Promotion - Convenor: Bryan McGoldrick
No new activities.

Scuttling Celebration - Celebratory Ball - Convenor: Mick Jeacle
The Celebratory Ball is still planned to be held at the Coral Atoll Room at the Melbourne Aquarium. The Aquarium has been most understanding with the changes in dates and will do their best to accommodate us when we can confirm. A new date for this exciting event will be set once the Sea Dumping permit is signed off and the scuttling date known. Watch this space for information over the next month.

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