October 12th 2006
Jetty refurbishment - calls for comment
Last Saturday Queensland Transport placed a Public Notice indicating that an application to refurbish the Picnic Bay jetty has been submitted to the Queensland Heritage Council. The Notice advises how submissions can be made on the proposal (see bottom).
The Jetty, which formerly provided the embarkation point for the Island's ferry services prior to the opening of Nelly Bay Harbour, is a much loved Island icon which has become an attraction in its own right for sightseeing and fishing.
The current Picnic Bay Jetty was constructed from 1957 to 1959 and is owned by the State of Queensland represented by Queensland Transport (QT). Since the opening of the Nelly Bay Harbour in 2003, in 2005 Picnic Bay Jetty was decommissioned by QT as a public transport facility (removal of mooring piles and access stairs as the jetty is no longer a vessel berthing facility).
However, the State has agreed that the jetty has cultural heritage value and shall be retained for community use as a promenade, viewing and fishing platform and for other approved activities.
The jetty has been entered on the Queensland Heritage Register (Place ID 602231) due to its cultural significance to the Magnetic Island and Townsville communities and the State has agreed to refurbish it at a projected cost of $200,000.
Magnetictimes.com understands that Townsville Port Authority continue to manage the jetty until there is an agreement between the State and Townsville City Council regarding its day to day management and maintenance.
A Conservation Plan was prepared in 2004, when QT also commissioned a heritage consultant to develop a Heritage Management Protocol to assist the Heritage Council and Townsville City Council to manage changes to the facility.
In September 2006, QT and the Heritage Council consulted with stakeholders, including MI Community Development Association, MI History & Craft Centre and MI Nature Care Association, and, in addition, the Queensland Heritage Council is now seeking further community comment.
An engineering condition assessment of the jetty has been carried out to determine the extent of structural repair work required as part of the refurbishment. This inspection verified that the structure is basically sound with little work on piles and main members being required.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and Environment Protection Agency - Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service have agreed that existing permits can be used for the work in the Marine Park. Following agreement with TCC and after all the requirements of the relevant agencies have been met (e.g. approvals from Ecoaccess/EPA for development by the State on a registered site) a tender document will be prepared for a contract to be called to have the work completed.
It should be noted that in the heritage consultant's report stated that, "It should not be the aim to make the jetty look like a new structure". Refurbishment therefore does not mean "make like new" as this would detract from the aged and patinated appearance of the structure; however unsafe or damaged items must be replaced.
Following are the key issues identified by by Queensland Transport and referred to the EPAQHC for consideration
a) Replace any deck that is in poor or damaged condition. Some decking planks are rough through weathering and wear however in light of the above comments the only replacements will be where failure has occurred or is expected. There are some gaps that may be considered to be excessive and require filling.
b) Remove the existing hand rails and replace them with white powercoated aluminium hand rails and stanchions of the same or similar dimensions around the full perimeter of the jetty. It should be noted that about half of the existing stanchions are split which results in 75% of the perimeter requiring new stanchions so all would be replaced for consistency and maintenance reasons. The mid deck handrails are not suitable for use on the perimeter as they are too short to extend down to the timber girders for secure attachment.
C) Renovate the existing terminal building at the head of the jetty with the main roof and supporting structures retained. The existing seating is to be retained where possible. The secondary roof over the previous stair access, the murals and the backing sheets are to be removed. The heritage consultant's report notes that the murals "may have some value to the community but their significance is not attached to the jetty". They will be offered back to the school as the children at that time painted them.
d) Remove the freight loading area shelter (wall, roof and frame). The roof of this shelter is asbestos sheeting so removal of this material is not negotiable. Previously the retention of the structure was considered with the roof to be replaced however the preference is to totally remove this shelter and run the hand rail around this area. The appearance of the jetty would then be pre 1966 (apart from the terminal shelter which was constructed in 1985) and considered by many to be an improvement. This structure is rated only as of "some significance" in the heritage consultant's report.
e) Construct a shade structure at the midpoint of the jetty in keeping with the style of the main head shelter. Previously the use of the removed secondary roof (two portions) from the terminal building stairs was considered for this location. The engineering inspection has ruled this out due to the corroded condition of the structural fittings and the central mounting configuration. Seating is also to be installed at this point.
F) Install two fish cleaning stations, one approximately half way along the jetty near the central shelter and the other on the jetty head (ocean end) of the jetty.
g) Install a chicane at the entrance to the jetty to restrict vehicle access onto the jetty. This is necessary not just to limit insurance liability but to also minimize damage to the decking, girders, head stocks and piles.
h) Erect signage on and around the jetty demonstrating the cultural heritage and community value of the jetty.
i) Remove the suspended treated pine decking planks (pedestrian walk way) and support fixtures along the eastern side of the jetty. This walk way was a later addition and has deteriorated with rotting, loose and warped boards.
j) Remove the steel passenger queuing railings from the jetty head area and the short rail sections adjacent to the tie off bollards. The bollards will be repainted and retained.
k) Review the lighting and augment with similar fittings if an increase in the number of lights is considered necessary. The lights over the previous stair areas will be removed and may be reinstalled around the terminal building. All lighting must be 'turtle friendly'.
l) Repaint the structure as required to provide ongoing protection to materials and to maintain the current appearance. Conservation Plan (Section 4.3) states, "The jetty should continue to be painted white".
m) Locate on the jetty for display the removed mooring pile with the "In memory 31890 Mario's Fishing Spot" plaque currently in storage.
Late last year the ferry access stairs, which led down to the water at the jetty's end were removed by the department amid public concerns that safety for rescuing people who accidentally fell in would be made harder and that the jetty should maintain an alternative ferry access point in case Nelly Bay was rendered unuseable following a cyclone.
Representations, quoting project reference no. 246974, should be addressed to the Queensland Heritage Council, c/- Manager, Cuktural Heritage, Northern Region. Environment Protection Agency, PO Box 5391, Townsville, 4810 to be received by 30 October 2006. The application can be viewed at the QPWS Office in Picnic Bay or at the Townsvile Library.
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