Victoria falls short of historic piers protection target
“Once [a pier] loses that commercial power, it seems to be seen simply as a piece of infrastructure around the bay. But these things take on new life in terms of social value – it’s a place to walk around and enjoy the sea. The pier is the crown jewel, it’s the focal point for everyone.
Over the past three years, Parks Victoria has been unable to meet its key targets to maintain the bay’s piers, jetties and other assets in fair to excellent condition, according to an analysis of budget documents from the state.
The government has set a maintenance target of 80%, but last year Parks Victoria hit 70%. The previous year, the agency had fallen well short of its goal, at just 66%. In 2018-19, Parks Victoria achieved 75%.
The agency attributed this to “age and storm impacts”. He also said that many of the piers he managed were rebuilt in the 1970s and were now at the “end of life”.
FutureFish Foundation director David Kramer, who also works with the state government on its fishing policies, said that if Parks Victoria had properly maintained the piers and jetties over the years, including replacing piles and timely aging boards, the structures would not deteriorate. to a point of no return.
“Parks Victoria calls it end of life – too bad, so sad,” Mr Kramer said. “I’m really worried because with every passing day and there’s no maintenance, a lot of the piers are going to disappear.
“The longer this lasts, the more it will cost to restore these assets. It’s like if you didn’t build a highway today, it would cost a lot more on the track.
The Victorian government has said it expects more than 30 million visits to docks and piers this financial year – or up to 35 million without COVID-19 rules restricting people’s movement – according to the latest budget document.
Sandringham MP and Opposition Fisheries and Boating Critic Brad Rowswell has written to Minister of Fisheries and Boating Melissa Horne and Treasurer Tim Pallas about the repair urgent from Hampton Pier.
In a speech to parliament in May, he said that if the government failed to provide the proper information to the community, it should “prepare for a whole new wave of pressure on the docks. It’s the calm before the storm.
Mr Rowswell said Age: “What is truly disappointing is that Andrews’ Labor government has no plan to repair the plethora of piers and jetties that have fallen into disrepair under their watch..
“Their only response is to lock people in with temporary fences rather than fixing them. Workers must stand up and tell Victorians how they plan to repair these important community assets. If they don’t, they failed.
A government spokesman did not respond to detailed questions about plans for Hampton Pier, but said Parks Victoria was undertaking wider planning for Sandringham Harbor with the town of Bayside.
“We are investing heavily in upgrading a number of piers and jetties, in addition to our annual maintenance programme, as part of the Building Works economic stimulus initiative, particularly for the jetties at Portarlington, Queenscliff South , Altona, Middle Brighton, Tooradin and Rye, as well as a $50 million redevelopment of St Kilda Pier,” a government spokeswoman added.
“This year’s budget also provided $2.5 million to establish and map strategic priorities for future investments. We will continue to support harbor managers to prioritize the repair and renewal of local harbors to provide a safe and sustainable network that all Victorians can enjoy.
There is no publicly available list of jetties or jetties that are in poor condition or have been closed for maintenance, but Mr Kramer identified jetties at Black Rock, Hampton, Mornington, Queenscliff, Flinders and Williamstown, as well as two piers at Warneet, as closed. And he predicts Portsea Pier, which is battered by fierce waves, will be next.
“They just sit there, neglected, fenced off – there’s no plan and no funding to fix them,” he said. “It’s almost part of Victorian culture now to walk on a pier – it’s quite a unique experience. We have a virgin bay. Port Phillip Bay has never been better – commercial nets have ceased, scallop dredging has ceased. Port Phillip is in the best condition it has been in our generation – why can’t Victorians be allowed to go to a pier and see this? »
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