Esperance Tanker Jetty not looked after: Darren West

Another person has weighed in on the saga that is the future of the Tanker Jetty.

This time it was Member for Agricultural Region Darren West.

Mr West said he previously got the chance to see the structure up close on a barge tour with Heritage Minister David Templeman.

“It’s a beautiful old thing but it just hasn’t had any maintenance for seven years,” he said.

“If you don’t maintain your house for seven years it won’t look as good as it does today.

Mr West said contemporary materials and keeping ongoing costs down was his ideal way forward.

“The (Esperance) shire, we’re not quite eye to eye at the moment, I believe that we should be looking for a cost effective refurbishment of the jetty,” he said.

“We need to find a way around the heritage, to perhaps do that with materials that don’t require such maintenance.

“Building it out of wood, I just don’t see that as viable, you know re-stumping it, re-piling it with wood, I just don’t see that as a viable way forward.

“We’re investigating ways that we can perhaps refurbish with more contemporary materials, because ultimately they’re up for the maintenance, so you want to try and keep the ongoing costs as low as you can as well, that’s the community that pays for those.”

Shire of Esperance chief executive officer Matthew Scott said the replacement option was selected by council for these exact reasons.

“Essentially the council and Mr West agree on most items that Mr West has mentioned,” he said.

“It is extremely important we recognise the heritage value, and pay tribute to the Tanker Jetty and its value in Esperance’s history.

“Wood is most definitely not a viable option with finite resources available to our community and ongoing costs are at the forefront of Council’s mind when making decisions that have a generational impact.”

Mr West said the council were ultimately the ones responsible for looking after the jetty because of a lease agreement with the state.

“As far as I know they’ve never asked the state to tear that up, they’ve just decided not to do the maintenance on the jetty,” he said.

Shire president Victoria Brown said the jetty had been maintained by the shire since 1990.

“In 2011 the then council made a decision to begin the process of funding a replacement jetty as continuing to maintain the current Tanker Jetty was/is going to cost the Esperance ratepayer significantly over coming years,” she said.

“Since this time information has been forwarded to different government departments with respect to the plans for future demolition, heritage impact, funding requests and at no time did the State Government (licensor) question the decision.

Ms Brown said during a special meeting in November, council requested Mr Scott write to the Department of Transport asking if they would take over responsibility for the jetty.

“The question of who is the true decision making authority for the Tanker Jetty is the reason there is no movement with regards to future planning at the moment,” she said.

“We welcome Mr West’s support in encouraging the state government to take back the jetty if they feel the more expensive refurbishment option is viable.

“This would ensure the Esperance ratepayer does not wear the brunt of the cost and allow the local government to plan sustainably and responsibly for all community assets and services.”

The Jetty Group Inc. chairman David Dwyer said while he agreed with Mr West, the way forward was with a united front.

“We’re basically squabbling down here,” he said.

“Everyone’s throwing darts at each other, it’s not very productive.

“The Esperance community, to get the a jetty, have to be united.

“Between the shire, the public and the groups, Esperance as a whole needs to be going to the Government together, which would be much more powerful.”