UPDATE: Wednesday, November 20, 5.35pm
WORKS to remove the termite-infested wooden structure of the two jetties at Point Reserve started on Wednesday.
Four contractors in wet suits have established a containment barrier around the north jetty and started removing planks.
Once this work is completed, they will start work to remove the damaged timber on the south jetty.
The total cost of the works is $28,000.
Chief executive Peta Mabbs said safety was a priority.
“When you are dealing with potentially millions of these insects on an important piece of our history, on the banks of a river with its rich and sometimes fragile biodiversity, in a place about which many of us hold fond memories of growing up – it’s a big challenge,” she said.
“As the CEO, it would have been irresponsible and negligent not to address the safety hazard.
“They are a critical risk and my hand was forced by those safety considerations…there was no other option.
“If a child had fallen through a damaged jetty plank and hurt themselves, or worse still, drowned, I would be responsible for any loss of life and the Town would be liable for damages.”
THE termite-infested decking of the two jetties at Point Reserve will be removed this week after the Town of Bassendean received approvals from State Government departments.
The Town announced on November 11 that it would remove the unsafe timber structure of the 70-year-old jetties after it was found the timber structures were infested with termites.
The announcement resulted in community backlash and a petition for repairs gaining more than 550 signatures in a week.
It then made another announcement on its website that the council would consider replacement options and consult the Department of Transport (DoT) and Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) and Bassendean MLA Dave Kelly.
The departments gave conditional permits for the Town to replace the timber structure of the north jetty.
According to Town chief executive Peta Mabbs’ report on the council’s November 19 briefing agenda, works to remove the decking on the north and south jetties would be undertaken this week.
The works cost $28,000 and is funded from the Town’s emergency contingency fund.
DoT coastal facilities director Donna West said the Town obtained approval to replace the decking on the north jetty on the condition the decking was replaced in the same footprint as the current structure, the site was kept safe and a ‘Notice to Mariners’ was issued.
“The Town has advised the Department community consultation will be undertaken to determine its future actions in regard to the southern jetty,” she said.
A DBCA spokesperson said the Department issued a permit last week for works on the jetties to mitigate public safety risks.
Mr Kelly said a number of residents have contacted his office to express their concern about the future of the jetties.
“I am happy to pass these concerns on to the Town of Bassendean and make sure they’re aware of the significance these jetties hold for the community,” he said.
Ms Mabbs said wooden jetties were a challenge for local governments along the Swan River, given their deteriorating state and weathering caused by erosion from speeding boats, termites and original construction methods.
“It’s clearly part of the history of our area,” she said.
“This is an opportunity for us to take stock and plan for the future amenity of the community and its connection to the river.”
She said the footings for the first jetty was in good condition so they could remain until consideration was given to the future requirement for jetty amenity at the reserve.
Councillors will consider a further report in December which will include an update on the future considerations for the jetties and cost of physical works to reinstate the north jetty.