The Jetty Group’s petition calling for the State Heritage Minister to place a Conservation Order on the heritage listed Esperance Tanker Jetty was submitted to the Shire Council this week, and the Minister’s decision is expected next week.
More than 6000 people, around 60 per cent of the population of Esperance, signed the petition to save the Tanker Jetty.
At the same time, the group has said they’ve found the plan to save the jetty would inflict a $4 to $8 dollar increase on rates per annum, much lower than those proposed by Council.
The Group’s chairman David Eltringham said that the six thousand plus people clearly want the Esperance Tanker jetty retained, restored and maintained.
“Six thousand people do not accept the resolution Councillors passed in 2011 to stop all maintenance on the structure and for it to be demolished because the decision ignores the legal obligation the Shire has under the terms of its Jetty Licence issued by the State Government in perpetuity in 1990,” said Mr Eltringham
“The licence obligations require the Shire Council to repair, restore and maintain the Tanker Jetty in a good condition at all times, and under the terms of the licence agreement, the Shire Council has no authority to undertake any other work on the structure.
Mr Eltringham said that the Shire had made the wilful decision to stop maintenance despite the Tanker Jetty being listed on Western Australia’s Heritage Register as a structure with significant cultural, historic, aesthetic, social and economic values to the people of the Goldfields Esperance Region.
“There is a presumption of ‘no demolition’ associated with entry on to the Register of Heritage Places,” Mr Eltringham said.
“Entry in the Register is reserved for places of State cultural heritage significance and is the highest recognition afforded at State level.”
The Jetty Group representative David Dwyer said he had done the maths on the whole-of-life costing of the proposal, and established the $4 to $8 increase as a “worst case scenario”.
“First I established the incremental increase in annual maintenance costs, based on the BIR engineering report, over actual average annual Jetty expenditure over 27 years and 10 years,” Mr Dwyer said.
“This meant a total increase of $34000 or $61000 per year respectively. One then divided seven thousand two hundred rateable properties into these figures, the result is a $4.50 to $8 increase in rates, which would form part of the Shires annual rate setting process.”
Mr Dwyer said The Jetty Group contended the economic benefits of keeping the jetty easily justified this additional cost.