To receive a quarterly report from the Harbour Master. (Grahame Forshaw)
The Harbour Master provided the following update on his report circulated with the agenda: -
· they had successfully negotiated an arrangement for alternative accommodation for the Harbour Master’s office in Exmouth, in the management offices for the Exmouth Marina.
· in respec of a Board Member’s enquiry on the use of the remainder of the Buoy Store, some repairs will be made to the roof to make it weatherproof, but there will be a better use of the space overall, and the space that was currently earmarked for office accommodation will be able to be used as a drying space for their equipment.
· the patrolling regime for the waterways team was changing, with a new patrol on a Friday evening including around the Turf Hotel area. There has been an issue with the number of boats tied up on the pontoon. The team were also making every effort to engage with recreational boat users with safety advice.
· four body cams will be issued to the team later in the year, and will be a positive move in the effort to manage safety on the waterways and as an additional communication and evidence gathering tool.
· he had contacted the personal watercraft partnership and they are going to provide signage templates aimed at personal watercraft to put up at launch points. He will be making contact with East Devon and Teignbridge District Councils about obtaining permission to erect additional signage.
The Harbour Master responded to the following comments:-
· he thanked a Board Member for the reminder about the open invitation for all City Council Members and particularly Members of this Board to shadow the Harbour Patrol which offered an oversight of their role and some of the issues they faced when out on the water.
· he had not attended the recent Scrutiny Committee meeting when representatives from Southwest Water, the Environment Agency and Natural England were invited as a result of an earlier Notice of Motion to Council to answer questions from Members in relation to the water quality and use of the River Exe. The water quality and overall environment of the Estuary was something the Waterways team were very aware of along with the diverse flora, fauna and biodiversity. He added that he had been interviewed by students from Exeter University who have been carrying out a study on rivers and waterways in the south of England. There were issues relating to litter and rubbish in the River Exe, including plastic and discarded fishing nets which could become embedded on the mud banks requiring the team to physically free off the material.
A Board Member also responded to comments made at the meeting about the water quality of the Estuary and a lack of testing. He was conscious that although there was less rubbish in the River Exe, the make-up of the pollution was different with potentially more invisible pollution, such as nitrate phosphate run-off. He noted a fellow Board Member’s suggestion that the Board might consider how to progress issues relating to the Estuary, however encouraging the Environment Agency, as the testing enforcement body to carry out testing was not within the remit of the Harbour Board or even the City Council. He hoped however, that they could use every possible opportunity to engage with Southwest Water in relation to the river.
Members noted the report.