What a year it has been for the Esperance region.
I thought it was quite fitting that the year started and finished with an Annual Electors Meeting. While there are many unhappy residents in town, it has been great to see people stand up and use their democratic right to a voice.
Both meetings had the room packed and interestingly brought up the same issues. The most interesting motion was from the December meeting, where the council were called on to fix the ‘fractured community’.
It is sad to think that the issues that have erupted in Esperance have divided the residents and hopefully they can unite to help the town prosper.
Also in January was the announcement of Cleveland-Cliffs company’s decision to cease operation at the Koolyanobbing complex. This had massive impacts on the port and the town.
After some hard work from the state government, Southern Ports and Mineral Resources a solution was reached which saved many jobs.
The community was united in April when a minute silence was held for the one year anniversary of Laeticia Brouwer’s death. Later this year, Laeticia’s family had a memorial surfboard installed at Twilight Beach, one of her favourite surfing spots.
There is no denying that the Tanker Jetty and its future has been the number one issue residents talk about. The Shire of Esperance has pushed forward with new designs for the structure while the current heritage listed jetty had multiple piles collapse. The debate on this issue has been very heated to say the least, which has been a challenge for our journalists to cover the story with all its different angles.
It was awful to see the death of teenager Kaitlyn Scott who was hit by a car after being at a party in August. These tragedies impact more than just one person and the grief the community shared for loss of young life was palpable.
There were also two other fatal crashes in August within the region, which has contributed to another large road toll for WA.
There is no doubt 2018 has been a tough one for Esperance and its people. But hopefully the tough times will mean it will see some positive results in 2019.