Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Pier pressure fishing for a jetty solution

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Patrick Goldsmith, Yorke Peninsula Country Times

Yorke Peninsula Council deputy mayor Richard Carruthers has joined the increasingly loud chorus calling for the state government to take greater action on much-needed regional jetty maintenance.

Mr Carruthers, of Ardrossan, said he has been approached by roughly 50 locals concerned about the future of the jetty within the past few months.

This comes just weeks after the Local Government Association released its Value of Jetties report which states 80 per cent of the 2400 South Australians surveyed believe more investment is needed in jetties.

Of Ardrossan jetty’s 304 piles, 187 (62 per cent) are regarded as being in poor or defective condition, with pile replacement alone estimated at $3.5 million.

Mr Carruthers said he is angry at the prospect of the town losing the jetty, as it is vital to both tourists and locals.

“Without further investment we will lose jetties, and towns will lose some of the most important infrastructure they have,” he said.

“I’ve never been approached on any one topic as much as I have on this matter; people are scared about what will happen to the jetty and, as an extension, the town, if it’s gone for good.

“Unfortunately, I just have to say ‘I just don’t know, but it doesn’t look favourable’; the cost is huge.

“While it would be devastating for the tourists who rightly enjoy coming to a town like Ardrossan, the locals are worried because they love using it when they can as well.”

Mr Carruthers said he doesn’t believe jetty maintenance is a priority for the government.

“If it was a priority, they would come out stronger in support of them,” he said.

“There needs to be an increase in funding available for sure, what is there currently doesn’t suffice.

“They’re happy to fix metropolitan jetties; why’s that? Because they view them as tourist attractions, but so are ours.”

Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Tom Koutsantonis spoke about the matter in state parliament last Thursday, February 8.

“When it comes to the outsourcing or the contracting of these jetties to councils over a long period of time, one of the requirements those councils took up when they took it was regular maintenance,” Mr Koutsantonis said.

“There is a clause in the contract (which) requires those jetties be returned to the state government in a fit and proper manner; that is, that they are fit for purpose.

“We understand why Yorke Peninsula Council has nine jetties that need upgrades: special cases.”

Mr Koutsantonis backed the funding made available in the last state budget, the $20m SA Jetties Renewal Program for jetties across the state to share, suggesting it more than covered the efforts from the former Liberal government.

“The question we have to contemplate is there are so many jetties across regional South Australia that, if we just accepted the ask of every council for a brand-new jetty, we would be talking about hundreds of millions of dollars into infrastructure,” he said.

“The question is: with scarce resources, how do we get the best outcome for taxpayers?

“What we have done in the most recent budget is put up $20m which should leverage $40m worth of investment in regional jetties. Before we came to office, do you know how much was available for regional jetties? Zero.”

YPC has announced it will put forward two expressions of interest to the SA Jetties Renewal Program for urgent repairs to the Port Vincent fishermen’s jetty, as well as ongoing funding for pile replacement across Ardrossan, Port Victoria, Edithburgh and Stansbury jetties

Yorke Peninsula Country Times 13 February 2024

Related stories: Out at sea over jetty funding push, New data reveals why SA jetties are worth saving: LGASA

This article appeared in Yorke Peninsula Country Times, 13 February 2024.

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