A message from CEO on Point Reserve

Published on Thursday, 18 June 2020 at 10:00:00 AM

Way forward for Point Reserve

It is with much regret that the Town will remove the old jetties at Point Reserve, noting they are a treasured memory of our past and part of our identity. Like many locals, my father learned to swim at the Point. I too have fond memories of the river - swimming, sailing and canoeing as a teenager in the Bassendean Sea Scout Group. 

To help understand how this all came about and clarify any misunderstandings, here is some background: 

In mid-2019, after the identification of termite infestation on both North and South Jetties, termite baits were put in place (to be inspected quarterly).  Public access to the North Jetty was restricted for safety reasons. In September 2019, a contractor reported structural issues at both jetties, with headstocks and stringers compromised by termite infestation, rendering both structures at risk of failure. 

Acting on this report, Town Administration engaged a marine maintenance contractor to undertake remedial works in early November 2019. During the initial stages of these works, it was discovered that the termite damage to both jetties was more extensive than originally observed. The contractor at the time reported: “Termite damage is very hard to ascertain, exterior damage to the timber is often not visible until the infestations are full blown as they were on the North Jetty…. As far as the South Jetty goes. In its infancy, termite damage will likely be nothing further than a pinhole entry point, and several pinholes are visible on the timber superstructure on the South Jetty, due to the known and active presence of termites…”. 

The full extent of the damage was undetermined at this stage. There was however enough evidence, further backed up by advice from the Town’s insurers, to indicate both the jetties required closure immediately for safety reasons pending a further more detailed structural assessment. 

Following a full engineering structural assessment (delivered in April 2020), both jetties were deemed unsalvageable. We were hoping that perhaps the pylons of at least one of the jetties could be used as the basis to rebuild upon, thereby preserving some of the original structure and design. This unfortunately was not the case.

Just to clarify, the initial assessment of the jetties had identified termite damage and other structural deterioration, with the more comprehensive engineering assessment by MP Rogers (April 2020), attached to the May 2020 Council agenda item, demonstrating the full extent of the termite damage and broader deterioration of the jetty structures. The latter report was a more detailed and forensic assessment. 

With this knowledge, we now have an opportunity to think about the future of Point Reserve. We don’t use the river the same way we did when the jetties were constructed in 1946.  From time to time, we experience algal blooms and other issues in that part of the river. Thinking about the future amenity, not only in terms of the jetties but the broader Point Reserve area, will give us an understanding of how people would like to recreate and use the area.

Our new Manager Sustainability and Environment will lead the work on the development of a scoping paper for Point Reserve and more broadly the river and its surrounding environment. This will help us better understand the current state of the river, foreshore, and reserve to inform future planning and investment. We will present a report to Council in 2020/21 to position the Town for future government grant funding in April 2021. This enables the Town to adopt a more strategic approach to our planning and seeking grant funding, in addition to reducing the financial burden on our ratepayers, particularly compared to if we were to proceed alone.

The Town is currently preparing its budget for 2020/21 for Council’s consideration. This will be a challenging budget given the impact the COVID-19 pandemic on households and businesses. Council has asked that I prepare a budget for their consideration based upon a 0% rate revenue increase.

It is unfortunate that the jetties must be removed but this provides an opportunity to consider the community amenity desired for the future with better information at hand. 

If you are interested in reading the engineering assessment on the jetties and the associated report to Council, they are both available on the Town’s website under Council Meetings (May 2020).

I hope this may help provide some clarity.

Kind regards

Peta Mabbs

CEO – Town of Bassendean

Structural Reports

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