DEPUTY Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan has announced that the Victorian Coalition Government is committing $300,000 towards detailed planning for the redevelopment of the Port Welshpool Long Jetty.
Mr Ryan said there was very strong community interest in the redevelopment of the jetty, and the detailed analysis and planning now underway would progress the project.
In the lead-up to the last election, the Coalition, then in opposition, pledged $3 million towards the redevelopment of the jetty, which has fallen into disrepair after it was closed in 2003.
“The Coalition Government, through Regional Development Victoria (RDV), has established a Project Control Group to drive the project, comprising representatives from Gippsland Ports, South Gippsland Shire Council and the Department of Transport,” Mr Ryan said.
“I have asked South Gippsland Shire Council to undertake an Expressions of Interest process in the coming weeks to ensure that three community representatives can also join the group.”
Mr Ryan said the group had been established to guide the redevelopment project and develop rehabilitation options for consideration by the government.
“It is fundamental that a thorough planning process is undertaken, involving a comprehensive structural assessment of the Long Jetty, to inform the government of possible realistic and cost-sensitive rehabilitation options,” Mr Ryan said.
“I have asked Gippsland Ports, through the Project Control group, to complete initial technical and related works to establish the true condition of the Long Jetty. This will involve a review of existing structural assessment advice, hydrographic and general features surveys, heritage advice, a geotechnical report and services assessment.
“This work should be completed by mid-2011 with options to be presented to me for consideration.”
Mr Ryan said the Port Welshpool Long Jetty was an important recreational asset that should be restored to be enjoyed by many generations to come.
The news of the funding commitment by the government has been greeted with delight by members of the Welshpool and District Advisory Group, who have waged a long campaign to restore and re-open the jetty.
“It’s great to see some action after such a long time,” said the president of the group, Paul Macphail. “I know progress will be step by step, but this is like a breath of fresh air.”
Mr Macphail said he and the treasurer of the Welshpool and District Advisory Group, Dan Conley, were looking forward to representing the group on the Project Control Group driving the jetty project.
He said credit was due to Mr Ryan and to Russell Broadbent, the federal member for McMillan.
“They have both been very supportive of the community and our campaign to restore the Long Jetty,” he said.