Wharf at the end of cove street Birchgrove is the proposed site for a ferry drop.

In the frame … Cove Street, Birchgrove is under consideration as a site for a new ferry stop. Photo: Jacky Ghossein

RESIDENTS on the Parramatta River and on the lower north shore could be served by eight new ferry wharves – if the state government was prepared to plan and pay for them.

Internal government demand forecasts identified potential for nine new wharf sites – at places such as Balmoral Beach, Jacksons Landing, Rozelle Bay and Ermington – with most of them accessible by Sydney Ferries’ RiverCat fleet.

The consideration of the new wharves was revealed in a consultant’s study into the depth of the upper Parramatta River, obtained by the Herald under freedom of information laws.

The April 2011 study by Booz & Co was commissioned to look at the viability of running services to Charles Street Wharf at Parramatta. Low tides restrict services to the wharf on all but three days a month, on average.

And while the river has not had a major dredging since 1992, Booz’s report recommends against another on environmental and cost grounds.

The study looked at nine sites on the Parramatta River and lower north shore as possible RiverCat berths.

The sites, the study says, were ”developed from initial demand forecasting in the separate Networking Planning Study, and suggestions from Sydney Ferries.” They include Balmoral Beach, which the report said could take a RiverCat at the jetty near the swimming baths, if it were upgraded.

It showed there was enough water depth to allow a RiverCat access to Long Bay, between Northbridge and Cremorne but limited shore access around Le Gay Brereton Park.

In the inner west, the study looked at Jacksons Landing, Pyrmont, and Rozelle Bay. At Rozelle, a new wharf would be needed, potentially at the northern end of Glebe Point Road.

Another wharf would be possible at Cove Street, Birchgrove. Booz said this would be a better location than the present wharf at Louisa Road.

Demographic analysis also suggested new wharves in Homebush Bay and Ermington, and one in Iron Cove to serve Russell Lea and Rodd Point.

One of the nine sites, Bray’s Bay, in Rhodes, was ruled out due to the river’s shallowness.

The Transport Minister, Gladys Berejiklian, indicated yesterday the government would not build new wharves soon.

Ms Berejiklian said it was important to note the Booz study was an analysis of water depths and did not ”consider other important factors that needed to be considered when providing public transport services, such as demand and infrastructure”.

“The NSW government will work with the new Sydney Ferries operator to look at how ferry services can be expanded and how we can give customers more options,” she said.

Steffen Faurby, the chief executive of Harbour City Ferries, last week named as the new operator of Sydney’s ferry system, said he wanted to bed in the running of Sydney Ferries before looking at new routes.

jsaulwick@smh.com.au