Floating deck on the agenda
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.