Esperance Express letters to the editor

Visitors acknowledge our town 

Congratulations Esperance Shire on your beautiful town and surrounding area.

My husband and I have been staying in a local caravan park for a week.  

We first visited Esperance 15 years ago, and I fell in love with the area.

Over the years we have travelled around Australia and when anyone asked where my favourite place was, I have always said, Esperance, and now, have finally come back to visit.

We have not been disappointed, and have loved every day here despite changeable weather some days. The foreshore is awesome.  

The town is great, with every service provided, and cafes, restaurants etc are excellent.  

Cape Le Grand National Park is of course world class and oh, so beautiful, however the best compliments go to every staff member and professional person at every service, and shop we have visited.  

Every person has been very friendly, and helpful. 

You can be extremely proud of everyone who works and cares for persons / customers and clients.

Yvonne and Brian Joyce.

Frankston South, Victoria

Jetty collapse flawed, not fatal

The unfortunate collapse of a small section of the Tanker Jetty on Saturday was not unexpected. Now, despite claims by the Shire President that the replacement solution currently being considered by the Heritage Council is the way to go; the best way forward is for the current structure to be repaired. The reasons for this are plain and simple:

Firstly the Heritage Minister David Templeman, has made it clear once again he will not lift the Conservation Order until the Shire present him with a detailed design and a fully funded (in the bank) business case that retains the jetty structure's historical and cultural heritage. The Shire concept currently being considered by the Heritage Council does not meet any of the Minister's requirements and furthermore, as the Shire President indicates, their eventual plan may not look anything like what has been presented, or anywhere near the length claimed.  It will be based on the funds they have available and may not even be in the same location.  Under the Shire's scenario it is possible that Esperance could even be left without a jetty.

Secondly while the Shire almost regularly gets approval from the Heritage Council to make the jetty safe when incidents occur, it can and should be made safe by initiating repairs and maintenance under the legally binding Jetty Licence it has with the State Government. For ten years the Shire has neglected its responsibility in relation to requirements of the Jetty Licence and so now we find the  current state of disrepair. 

Thirdly the Shire President has made it clear that despite claims of not having funds available to carry out remediation work, the Council has $3.6 M available in various reserves that can be spent on the jetty. Professional marine engineers have shown conclusively the structure can be remediated for less than $6 M.     I am almost certain that community and corporate funding can be found for the shortfall.

The 250 metre long replacement jetty will according to the shire's figures presented in their consultant's 2016  BMT JFA report, cost  $11 M, plus $1.8 M for demolition. A new 310 metre structure that also requires demolition of the existing jetty, will cost considerably more. Furthermore, the Shire has repeatedly stated it has $6 M for a replacement jetty, $2 M for demolition and all of this will not impact on ratepayers.

The Friends group was informed some time ago that the most likely area of something structural failing, was with pylons closest to the headland; particularly as pier 39 pylons were identified in BMT's 2010 report as needing “urgent repairs”. This, along with removal of the first 80 metres of the jetty which braced the entire structure to the land and construction of the headland, may well have been contributing factors in the recent failure.

We were advised that wave energy has little impact on circular pylons but backwash from the heavy swells experienced during winter, significantly exacerbate stress on them, particularly the damaged ones.   After ten years of neglect of a structure that has survived severe winter storms, earthquakes and the lack of proper maintenance for a very long time, it is not surprising that something had to give.

We now call on the Shire President to cease blaming the State Government for what has happened,  take responsibility for the situation we all now face, and spend the money the Shire has, on remediating the structure, including reconnection of the jetty to the headland.

Tony Bright

Chairman for the Friends of the Esperance Tanker Jetty

Thumbs Up

Thank you to the Castletown Primary School road crossing attendant. Not only do you make sure all school children make it safely across Easton Road, but you also keep the flow of vehicles moving by waving us through and then letting the children cross safely. Great work!

Thumbs down

Thumbs down to the Esperance Tanker Jetty for collapsing into the bay and ruining my pleasant afternoon. Now this is all I hear about around town. You should have taken one for the team and stayed upright. But hang in there; if you go, no one in town will have anything to talk about.

Do you have a Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down regarding life in Esperance? Send them to editor.espexpress@fairfaxmedia.com.au