Float­ing deck on the agenda

Pilbara News - - Pilbara News - Tom Zaun­mayr

Ex­mouth is look­ing to float­ing deck tech­nol­ogy born in Dampier to im­prove tourist ac­cess to the North West Cape after weather left half of the vis­it­ing cruise ships un­able to dis­em­bark this year.

Shire of Ex­mouth deputy pres­i­dent Mick Hood and coun­cil­lor Suzanne McHutchi­son held a meet­ing with Aus­tralian Float­ing Decks di­rec­tor Paul Tous­saint-Jack­son last month re­gard­ing the in­stal­la­tion of a float­ing deck to be used pri­mar­ily by cruise ships, as well as the oil and gas sec­tor and other in­dus­tries.

Coun­cil­lors en­dorsed a fund­ing ap­pli­ca­tion to the Gas­coyne De­vel­op­ment Com­mis­sion for the project at the Septem­ber coun­cil meet­ing.

Shire chief ex­ec­u­tive Bill Price said the deck would pro­vide an al­ter­na­tive to the un­re­li­able and lengthy process of cruise ships an­chor­ing off­shore and trans-ship­ping pa­trons to Ex­mouth on ten­der ves­sels.

“The cur­rent process is ex­tremely weather de­pen­dant and, as a re­sult, 50 per cent of cruise ships failed to dis­em­bark pas­sen­gers in Ex­mouth dur­ing the 2016 cruise sea­son,” he said.

“Ad­dress­ing this is­sue in the short term will ben­e­fit Ex­mouth busi­nesses and as­sist cruise op­er­a­tors such as Car­ni­val Aus­tralia, which has iden­ti­fied Ex­mouth as a piv­otal des­ti­na­tion for the vi­a­bil­ity of the Western Aus­tralian cruise in­dus­try.”

A con­cept de­sign re­port from AFD is ex­pected next month.

Shire of­fi­cers in­di­cated the project cost was likely to come in at about $18-$20 mil­lion.

The project will con­tinue to progress us­ing al­ter­na­tive op­er­a­tional and fund­ing sources be­cause fund­ing through the scheme would not be avail­able un­til July 2017 if successful.

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