Wharf plan in gulf revealed
■ Plans for a multi-purpose deepwater wharf in Exmouth Gulf have been revealed, but there’s no indication of how much development would cost or who would pay for it.
The proposal was revealed at last week’s Shire of Exmouth council meeting and would expand on approved plans for a potential smaller wharf development at Mowbowra Creek south of Exmouth by a private company and intended for the export of limestone.
Shire president Turk Shales said if the plan came off, it would be the biggest project in the Gascoyne involving stakeholders including Exmouth Limestone Pty Ltd and the Gascoyne Development Commission.
It would also require public consultation and approval from the Environmental Protection Agency.
Cr Shales said the wharf could potentially be used by cruise ships, the Australian Defence Force, resources firms and the agriculture industry.
He said the prospectus document released at the meeting was designed to show people what could happen with hard work.
“This is all about building a sustainable future for the whole of the Gascoyne,” Cr Shales said.
Shire deputy president Michael Hood said the potential for attracting cruise ships to the area was “incredible”.
“The cruise ship industry in Western Australia alone is worth $300 million and if we could just get a piece of that pie for Exmouth, the potential is huge,” he said.
Exmouth Visitor Centre communications officer Ben Knaggs said cruise ship tourism was a growth industry for Exmouth.
“There are some challenges to meet potential and the biggest challenge is port facilities, so for that part a deep-water wharf would be a perfect solution,” he said.
Mr Knaggs said WA as a whole was an expanding cruise-shipping area and Exmouth’s infrastructure didn’t quite meet the needs of the larger vessels.
“However, there are many smaller cruise ships and there is realistic potential for Exmouth operators to meet the needs of a sudden influx of these cruise ships,” he said.
Cr Shales said the wharf could also be used to export agricultural produce from the food bowl in Carnarvon and stations in the MidWest, rather than trucking it all the way to Perth.
He said the same tyranny of distance would also be eradicated for cattle stations, drastically shortening travel for livestock trucked south before travelling back up the coast on ships.
Cr Shales said he believed the Australian Defence Force would be interested as the Navy Pier to the north of Exmouth was affected by the dangerous tidal situation at the top of the North West Cape.