Esperance Tanker Jetty decision postponed

Community members will have to wait until this afternoon to hear the Jetty Replacement Working Group’s decision on the future of the Esperance Tanker Jetty.

The group met on Monday night to review and consider the detailed concept designs for the replacement of the iconic man-made jetty. 

However the meeting was adjourned to Friday at 4pm, as one member of the group wanted more time to digest and deliberate over the report and concepts presented. 

After being developed to a point for consideration by the group, the design concept was released by the Shire of Esperance on Monday and includes historical and modern elements.

Committee chair Natalie Bowman said the group had an important decision to make.

“While we would like to move forward and on to the next stage it is imperative the Working Group has time to make an informed decision,” Ms Bowman said. 

“I look forward to meeting again on Friday and hearing the thoughts of Working Group members.”

Developed using criteria set out by the Heritage Council of Western Australia (HCWA) and the Jetty Replacement Working Group, the design includes a 250 metre new section of jetty and 270 metres of exposed piles.

The shire originally developed of a 400 metre new design, on the current footprint of the existing jetty, with 120 metres of exposed piles. 

According to the shire, removing the top deck of the jetty would dramatically reduce the structural load on the piles.

Which would allow the piles to remain in-situ, but not be a marine safety risk, as they’re waterlogged and could be chained together.

However after meeting with the HCWA, shire representatives were strongly encouraged to re-consider only 200-250 metre of new jetty, which would leave some 270 metre of the old piles left in-situ.

According to the HCWA’s criteria the jetty must maintain to be a ‘landmark structure’.

Therefore the HCWA knocked back the initial proposal of only 120 metres of exposed old piles, as it “would not provide enough emphasis of the old jetty in the bay”.

The HCWA and the Office of State Heritage expressed support for the exposed piles concept and pointed to the Old Long Jetty at Bathers Beach, Fremantle as an example.

Shire representatives looked to other jetties that incorporated the exposed piles concept.

The current concept design for the new jetty was inspired by the Princess Pier on Port Phillip, in Port Melbourne, Victoria. 

Shire President Victoria Brown said the contemporary design includes important features identified by the community during extensive consultations and a detailed survey conducted in 2016.

“This design represents the best of both worlds when it comes to blending the old with the new and providing the community with a jetty that everyone can enjoy for generations,” Ms Brown said.

“The new elements of Esperance’s jetty will complement the existing stretch of revitalised foreshore and create visual impact on the bay whilst resolving the marine and public safety issues.”

Ms Brown said the heritage of the Esperance Tanker Jetty will be recognised with lighting that will illuminate the footprint of the old jetty where piles rise above the waterline and extend beyond the new structure.

“The new design includes utilising as much of the original fabric from the Esperance Tanker Jetty for historical interpretation as possible and preserving existing structures below the waterline which will reduce the environmental impact,” Ms Brown said.

During the meeting shire asset management director Matthew Walker gave a presentation discussing the current status of the jetty’s replacement and the criteria the concept design must follow according the HCWA and Jetty Replacement Working Group.

If the group endorse the recommendations put forward to them this afternoon the concept design will be sent to the HCWA. 

Once the council endorse the designs, they will have to take them to a formal meeting of the HCWA to decide.

If approved the shire will have to create a detailed design for the tender and undertake a geotechnical assessment.

After that when the plan is “shovel ready”, the shire will be in a position to put pressure on and explore funding opportunities. 

The Agenda and Concept Design is available on the Shire’s website.