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Whitsunday Regional Council yesterday met with a range of commercial operators at Shute Harbour to discuss the future of the facility and infrastructure, with a particular focus on the South Molle Jetty.
Mayor Andrew Willcox said that discussions held yesterday at Shute Harbour were positive with a healthy exchange of suggestions between council and the stakeholders.
“After becoming Mayor I instigated an operational and asset condition audit of all commercial activities. Council engaged engineering consultants GHD whose report reflected that of an earlier engineering report undertaken some years ago which said that the entire assets at Shute Harbor were in a very poor condition,” Cr Willcox said.
“However I wanted to make very sure Council has this right and subsequently we engaged Cardno, another well-known engineering specialist consulting firm, to undertake an extensive condition assessment. Their findings supported the GHD report I had initiated, and more importantly the Cardno report found that the South Molle Jetty is at the end of its useful life,” he said.
“The jetty is now unsafe to the point that our engineers could not provide a safe weight limit for its continued use and that as a useful and safe jetty, its days are over with all use to cease immediately.
“Also other parts of the facility need significant repairs to restore them to good working order such as the Lloyd Roberts pontoons and the terminal building.
“As of the 17th November, the South Molle Jetty will be no longer be accessible to the public due to significant safety concerns. As I told the public meeting yesterday we will not compromise the safety of the public and the users of the South Mole Jetty. Any life at risk is one to many for me.”
Stakeholders at the meeting requested Council undertake upgrades to the existing pontoons to allow both big and small commercial operators the opportunity to transition from the South Molle Jetty to the Lloyd Roberts pontoons and this is something that council has agreed to review with design work already underway.
Mayor Willcox said “Moving forward, Council will also be seeking expressions of interest for possible uses for Shute Harbour in the future and most importantly expressions of interest from businesses who wish to use the new facilities.”
“Council will be welcoming all proposals for consideration as it is important that this iconic part of the Whitsundays is utilised in the best way possible.”
Interested residents are encouraged to subscribe to the receive regular updates through the Shute Harbour Project Updates email subscription service on Council’s website - http://www.whitsunday.qld.gov.au/notify-me
Information relating to the Expression of Interest will be available soon.