Thursday, 13 October 2016
Mornington Pier is located in probably the most difficult location on Port Phillip Bay. The combination of deep water and a highly exposed position means that the impact of any adverse weather conditions is often felt harder at Mornington than any other point around the bay. The number of times we see waves breaking over our pier on the evening news makes that obvious. History also tells us that the wooden piers that preceded the current concrete and steel structure have needed almost constant repair.
But the extreme conditions are well known to both Ports and to Parks Vic who oversaw the design of the new pier and managed the works. It was therefore disappointing to say the least that there was apparently a problem with the wave screens that lead to the damage that occurred in July. It is not yet clear to me whether the failure was due to a design flaw, or to a problem with the contractor’s implementation.
Whatever the cause of the failure in July, it should have been fixed long before now. The most recent damage has apparently occurred because of the absence of the wave screens damaged in July. It should not have happened.
I am sure that every user of the pier, whether fishers, walkers, sailors or commercial operators, must be incredibly frustrated by the delay in responding to the July storm, and the consequent damage.
The former Liberal Government and the Mornington Peninsula Shire have together invested a lot of public money, within the vicinity of $18 million and $20 million when everything is added up, to replace the pier and rebuild the forecourt and parking areas.
It is not good enough that despite that very large investment, the pier is still not fully functional.
Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, the failure of some wave screens means that safety at Mornington is potentially compromised under some conditions.
It’s simply not good enough for the State Government to sit around hoping the problem is resolved eventually. The Minister for Ports, and the Minister for Environment who is responsible for Parks Vic, need to make sure that this problem is fixed, and fixed now before further damage, or potentially, loss of life occurs.