An engineering assessment released in early May has deemed the repair and stabilisation of the 83-year-old Esperance Tanker Jetty not economically feasible.
The assessment by BMT JFA Consultants comes after the state’s Heritage Council recommended the Shire make the structure safe without the removal of material to minimise the risk of an uncontrolled failure.
The assessment stated that temporary works would essentially be both extensive and costly, and still prone to failure in storms.
“More robust stabilisation would in effect be reconstruction retaining some historic fabric such as piles as was done with some lower specification structures in South Australia and of a scale that to the author’s knowledge is currently not funded and would cost in the order of tens of millions,” the assessment stated.
The assessment identified the significant safety risk associated with repair works, with the fragile nature of the structure and consequences should a failure be initiated during works.
Consultants of the marine engineering firm also questioned the value for money for the community long term, suggesting a large portion of funding for temporary work could be used for the structure’s replacement.
BMT JFA concluded that the Jetty was considered totally failed and at the end of its functional life and, in engineering terms, would not be considered feasible to repair or stabilise economically due to the scale and technical difficulties.
Shire of Esperance Acting chief executive officer Shane Burge said the Shire had sourced the updated condition assessment from the marine engineering firm through a request from insurers.
“With the continuing decline of some elements in the jetty, concern was raised about a potential collapse and their impact on the jetty itself, preserving the historic fabric for future use, the underwater environment and the potential port and navigational hazards this could create,” he said.
“Debris in the water and a cement covered deck on the ocean floor is a scenario the Shire, Southern Ports, Heritage Council and the Esperance community would rather avoid.
“The decision by all stakeholders, and the advice received, is to remain in a watch and act position until a new design is approved.”
Mr Burge encouraged the community to read the Technical Note.
“It [the Technical Note] highlights the instability of the jetty from an engineering perspective, the economic impacts and risks,” he said.