Shire of Esperance display recovered Tanker Jetty timbers

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The Shire of Esperance yesterday invited members of the local media to view the state of recovered jetty timbers at the depot yard, following the recent uncontrolled collapse.

The shire also showed the recovered timbers to the Esperance Shire Council and the Jetty Replacement Working Group in an effort to be open and transparent about the condition of the structure.

Shire major projects manager Alun Hughes said despite hopes from various community groups, the timbers were rotted and unfit for structural use.

“If you can push a screw driver all the way into a piece of timber, there’s no way that it can be used in any structural capacity,” he said, after pushing a screwdriver through a piece of rotted decking.

“These are not unrepresentative samples of timber, they’re not bad timbers that we put out for people to see.

“They’re absolutely as they came off the barge, as they were recovered from the ocean, we’ve just laid them out and turned them over so people can see the top surface.”

Mr Hughes said he could not see the recovered timbers being used for anything other than decorative or interpretive purposes.

“I doubt very much that you would find a structural engineer who would certify these as fit for being used in a structural capacity.

Mr Hughes said he had no reason to think the condition of the remaining jetty timbers would be any different to the ones taken from the recent collapse.

“It was hoped by some that the remaining structure that was covered in concrete topping would have been in better condition,” he said.

“But as you can see there they may even be in a worse condition than the stuff that we recovered four years ago (from the jetty headland project).”

The depot yard was home to numerous piles of old jetty timbers, many of which were taken from the first 80 metres of the jetty as part of the jetty headland project in 2013.

“It’s unlikely that the piles can be used for any application where they will come into contact with people because they were treated with CCA, which is copper, chrome and arsenic,” he said.

“CCA treatment is the reason that a lot of our timber playgrounds for instance have been dismantled and refubished with non-timber structures, because the CCA treated timber is not fit for contact with people

“Whether they can be used by any local interest groups safely, I do not know. I doubt it.

Mr Hughes pointed out old jetty piles, or the ‘legs’ of the structure,which had been eaten away and hollowed out by teredo worms.

“The teredo worm generally attack in the marine environment, in the spalsh zone,” he said.

“Whereas the timber deck planks are not wormy, but they are very severely rotted and eroded and split.”