Opinion: Locals are fed up with lack of transparency

Falling apart: The Esperance Tanker Jetty after the collapse in June, 2018. Photo: Shire of Esperance.
Falling apart: The Esperance Tanker Jetty after the collapse in June, 2018. Photo: Shire of Esperance.

Design underway

The front page story in the April 19 edition of the Esperance Express described outcomes from the council's recent meeting with government departmental officers that discussed the tanker jetty's demolition and replacement.

According to Shire of Esperance CEO Matthew Scott, the Heritage Council approved the shire's replacement design and now "we're ready to go".

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The Heritage Minister, David Templeman, responding to questions about the Perth meeting on local ABC radio last week (Thursday, May 9), indicated the shire still had a long way to go, as a number of unresolved matters had been highlighted.

Mr Templeman said design and funding issues needed to addressed and an appropriate funding source was needed "to deliver a high quality heritage outcome", a point he repeated several times.

He said he recognised that the tanker jetty was much loved by local people and the wider regional community, which was something he would continue to focus on.

Also, he wanted to see a detailed design that not only included these quality heritage outcomes but also that provided social and tourism values for the town and wider Goldfields-Esperance Region.

Asked about deconstruction of the tanker jetty, the Minister said this was part of a very long process that "will have to be dealt with when we get to that stage".

He said these matters were important considerations that had to be resolved.

Mr Templeman said he understood the importance the tanker jetty had to people living in the region as very strong views about the structure had been put to him.

He would not be lifting the Conservation Order until he saw outcomes that met the needs of the local and wider Western Australian community.

So where do these responses leave the CEO's claim that the shire was "ready to go"?

And why does the shire continue with the age-old and obvious media spin based on misleading and false claims?

Locals are well aware, and are fed up with their lack of transparency and honesty.

The Minister mentioned the results of the recent community survey.

Isn't it time the shire considered the Friends of the Tanker Jetty's Case for Reconstruction that includes a detailed design of the 1934 original that meets the Minister's and Heritage Council's requirements?

This design has been fully costed by three marine structural engineers and incorporates deconstruction and reconstruction of the jetty simultaneously.

The cost of about $6 million is inclusive and saves the community between $3 and $4 million compared to the shire's demolition and replacement proposal. Importantly, all new timbers needed to reconstruct the sub- and superstructure have been sourced. Deconstructed timbers will be used for non-structural purposes, such as kerbs, seats and fishing tables.

All that is required now is for tenders to be called. Work could start as early as the fourth quarter this year and be completed in about nine months.

Sections of the jetty could be reopened as reconstruction progressed from the headland seawards.

The result will be a jetty that reflects the 1934 original, retains the current length and the iconic structure's historic values and cultural fabric, and resumes its pride of place in our seascape for at least another 85 years.

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