Wharf plan in gulf re­vealed

Pilbara News - - Pilbara News - Bran­wen Smith

■ 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.

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