Council seeking funding for jetty replacement

David Braithwaite

WELLINGTON Shire Council will write to the state government seeking money to replace the McLoughlin’s Beach Jetty.

Council will ask Ports and Freight Minister Melissa Horne to review the condition of the jetty and provide money for its replacement.

In seeking to confirm whether a higher priority can be given by the government on the project, council has also asked the minister to find out the number of boating incidents which have involved a need to use the jetty over the past 20 years, and the need to access the jetty as part of a response to a marine oil spill east of Port Albert.

As far back as 2004, council has been involved in discussions about the future of the McLoughlin’s Beach Jetty, which has been slowly deteriorating since a major refurbishment in 1985.

Councillor Garry Stephens said a 2006 report prepared by consultants on behalf of Gippsland Ports said the jetty’s life was “measured in months, rather than years”.

“The jetty has seemed to survive this long, but I think it is getting much closer to its final days,” he said.

Cr Stephens said the jetty was an important back-up to the boat ramp, with anecdotal evidence suggesting use of the jetty by emergency services saved lives on several occasions.

“(Residents) are concerned about access to the mainland if there is a serious incident on the bar and there is a serious need to get emergency services to get people back to shore,” he said.

The state government has given a low priority to replacement of the jetty, citing low usage.

Meanwhile, council will install a street light in Colville St, Port Albert, after concerns for safety and security were raised by residents.