Thursday, November 16, 2023
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
By Paul Gellatly
The Save the Jetty Committee took to the floor at the most recent Bowen Chamber of Commerce meeting.
Chairman of the group, Tony Bale talked about progress on the project and a Queensland Government $50 million commitment to the jetty, and a Bowen survey to gauge community reaction to the project.
Mr Bale said the historical jetty was "as significant as mangoes" to Bowen.
The jetty received a makeover in the early 2000s by North Queensland Bulk Ports to make the walkways safer, but "unfortunately, it does need a bit of care now".
The jetty, opened in 1867, was an early user of the Monier steel-reinforced concrete construction method, but this has proved so durable that demolition would be an expensive option.
The present operator, NQBP, is moving from the site to be closer to the Adani/Bravis facility at Abbott Point, and if a new resident operator cannot be found, the structure must be demolished.
Mr Bale said NQBP had already set aside $18 million for this purpose.
However, in pursuit of its goal of preserving the jetty, Mr Bale said the committee had sought ideas for new uses of the jetty and 52 ideas were received.
Mr Bale said the project had received a $50 million boost with an offer by Transport Minister Mark Bailey for a $50 million grant taken from Abbott Point royalties.
Mr Bale said the Save the Jetty Committee had been working alongside this to develop a better use for the jetty, "and as we all know, everyone wants to save the jetty.
"In this process, we want to find the sweet spot in what is desirable, feasible and viable," he said, without causing an unnecessary burden for ratepayers.
An engineering inspection to begin later this month will gauge the state of decay in the jetty to determine what can be built there.
Tony Bale has some good news about plans to repurpose Bowen's crumbling jetty. Photo credit: Paul Gellatly