Shoalhaven City Council has allayed fears over the construction of a permanent marina area using pontoons in the Shoalhaven River, saying the project was "still a work in progress".
Anyone travelling south over the river over the past few days would have noticed the work being undertaken on the floating pontoons in front of the former Nowra Sailing Club site.
Council has attached large steel supports to the river bank on the eastern side of the former sailing clubhouse to secure the pontoons.
A steel gangway lies in the fenced off sailing club grounds, with footings showing it is expected to connect the bank and the eastern end of the structure.
It is a change to the original proposal when the floating pontoon marina was first mooted where the plan was to place a number of pylons into the river to secure the structure.
Some regular river users have questioned the new plan saying it is inadequate and looks "like a cheap second rate job".
"It's a disaster," said one river user who asked not to be named.
"For a start it looks shocking. If that's the finished product, it's aesthetic is terrible.
"It is too heavy for the pontoons, which are now uneven. How would that go with public liability and safety?
"And that's even without the gangway being attached.
"It's like the pipework attached to the pontoons is over engineered.
"At the moment in their present configuration the middle pontoons are actually supporting those closest to the bank which are attached to the pipe structure onshore. How will those connected pontoons react when the others are taken away?
"It's going to have even more strain on it once the gangway is attached and if it is going to be in a traditional U shaped marina there will be even more strain placed on it from the continual tidal movement which is quite strong in the area, let alone if there is a flood."
He questioned how it would withstand 3.5 to 4 metre fast moving floodwaters.
Council said the plans and engineering work undertaken by Magryn and Associates P/L designed the structure to sustain a 3.5m to 4m fastwater flood.
The plans show six pontoons will be permanently connected to the bank via four metal supports, ranging in size from 8.1 to 9.6 metres long.
Five separate pontoons jut out into the river to provide the marina facilities.
The temporary pontoons will be able to be removed before flood events, while to the western side a timber framed debris deflector will be attached at the water line.
Council said the works at the Nowra pontoons were not yet complete, with additional work still to be undertaken with an expected finish date being the end of July.
"Additional floats have been manufactured and installation will start within the next few weeks," the spokesperson said.
"The wharf to the west of the previous sailing club structure will remain in place."
The pontoons were previously moored to the riverbed concrete anchors with lines, which council said was only "a temporary solution".
Council said the original plans changed some time ago due to the significant cost associated with the use of piles for this purpose.
"It was decided to seek an alternative design solution which was more cost effective," the spokesperson said.
"Council adopted in September last year the Nowra Riverfront Plan which includes details of the proposed design."
Marina a long held dream
There has long been dreams held of a permanent marina in the Shoalhaven and early discussions were the pontoons, just east of the current Shoalhaven River crossings, could be used for such a structure.
In May 2016 council voted to allocate $200,000 towards the river front area of which $160,000 was allocated to purchasing and installing the pontoons for the marina, while $40,000 providing permanent power to the area on the western side of the Shoalhaven River bridges in Scenic Drive.
At the time council's then director Corporate and Community Services Craig Milburn said negotiations were being made to secure between 12 and 16 pontoons to form the marina.
It was envisaged they would each be 11.5 metres long and 2.5m wide and the same design as those used at the Sydney Boat Show.
But just months later in November the Department of Primary Industries ordered the structures be removed because council had not gained approvals to have the pontoons at the site on a permanent basis.
They were for a temporary installation only for the Shoalhaven River Festival event.
The 13 pontoons were removed and placed in storage at Greys Beach until their permanent future was decided.
"No environmental assessment or approvals to situate the pontoons at this site on a permanent basis have been obtained from the DPI," a DPI spokesperson said.
Issues regarding possible damage to seagrass in the area, which is a key fish habitat and nursery, due to shading from the pontoons being in the river on a permanent basis was one of the issues.