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Submission for: Snowy 2.0 - Exploratory Works

Objects

Matthew Moloney

Brucedale, New South Wales

Message

Firstly, I support the investigation works in principal but I object to
the impacts on waterway users and the township of Talbingo . If those
concerns cannot be addressed, then I object to the investigation works
commencing.

My family and friends are regular users of Talbingo Dam (It is not
uncommon for us to have 4 generations of my family camping up there).
We use that waterway for skiing from September to May each year and
visit on average every two weeks over that period.

My submission is in relation to the proposal in the application / EIS
to limit or restrict access to the Spillway on the western side of the
dam and also restrictions to access to the boat ramp opposite the
spillway.

The boat numbers assessed under the EIS are not a true reflection of
boat traffic due to the timing of the survey. For the period from the
start of October to the end of March each year numbers increase
dramatically.

At present there are only three usable boat access points to the dam.
The main ramp at Talbingo Wall takes by far the majority of that
traffic (two lane boat ramp with significant trailer parking area (and
that gets very busy or full at peak times), Lobs Hole (small fishing
boats only with 4WD. Minimal traffic and it will go under Snowy 2.0)
and Sue City at the southern end of the dam which has a very small
single concrete ramp that is more often that not unusable due to water
levels and has very limited trailer parking due to the camp site being
well supported.

If access to the main ramp at Talbingo wall is restricted in any way,
that will have the following effects:

1. That boat traffic will either cease or move to another waterway.
The EIS refers to Blowering Dam as a likely option. The two issues are
that in drought years the water levels over summer can be very low and
secondly, the foreshore at Blowering cannot possibly cope with
additional users coming down from Talbingo. Talbingo is popular due to
more consistent water levels and safer boat access. If Blowering is
too low those users often travel up to Talbingo Dam. If Talbingo ramp
is restricted and Blowering water is too low to use the ramp or it is
too crowded to access or from a safety viewpoint, those users will
leave the area. A large percentage of the users travel between 1.5 and
2hrs to get to the dam. If access is not reliable, then they will not
make the journey.

2. Some of the boat traffic may try to access the dam from the
Southern End at Sue City. That will put enormous pressure on the
facilities at O'Hares Rest Stop and the boat ramp there. That camp
site is often full at the busy times of the year and there is no
capacity to expand its size. That means families cannot camp. Sue City
end is a very small single concrete ramp that is unusable when the
water level drops. The Southern end of the dam is much narrower and an
large influx of boat numbers at that end of the dam will present
significant safety issues.

3. If the boat traffic moves away from the area, the township of
Talbingo will be decimated. The amount of money that is fed into that
small community via the boaters and fishermen that use Talbingo Dam is
enormous. If those users cannot access the dam they will find other
locations and may not return. This would be catastrophic for those
whose livelihoods depend on that tourism spend (accommodation, meals,
fuel and the jobs that stem from that). Even the proposed restrictions
over the investigation phase will have a massive impact on tourism.
The town would never recover. The township has a population of 239 per
last Census. That swells to 2,500 over peak times and a large amount
of those people use the dam. There is also the impact on Tumut where
people often buy supplies and fuel on the way to the waterways.

If access to the ramp at Talbingo is not disrupted but access to the
spillway is completely closed to recreational users during the
investigation phase that will also drive users and tourism away. Over
the warmer months (especially holiday season) it is not uncommon to
see up to one hundred people on that site. There is nowhere else on
the dam that is suitable to beach a boat so other users can swap in
and out. Families use that area and set up shade structures and BBQ's
etc and spend the day on the bank and ski from that side.

Conclusion

1. Access to the Talbingo Boat ramp should not be allowed to be
impacted during the investigation phase or construction phase of Snowy
2.0. The ramp on the spillway for barges etc should be used to launch
all boats and equipment relating to the project. If restricting access
to the ramp is an absolute necessity operationally, then please
consider replicating public ramp access on the Spillway side of the
dam

2. The spillway should not be closed to public access. I accept the
need for barge ramp and project access from that side, but I submit
that it should be a shared area with the project requirements taking
up the Northern end of the spillway and public access available on the
Southern end. If there is insufficient room to accommodate the public
access, then excavate the Southern end and make some more room (some
facilities over there would be pretty handy - toilets, boat ramp,
tables etc similar to the Eastern side of the dam). I am certain that
other respondents will have photos showing the number of people that
use that site.

From my perspective the financial impact on the township and the
potential loss of connection for the families and their friends that
frequent the dam is more important than the power storage than will
eventuate. That being said, it is easily possible to achieve both
aims. Facilities can be provided and recreational access can be
allowed during the different stages of the project. That would also
provide lasting infrastructure for those who benefit from the use of
the dam.