Kirstie Sap­pelli and Justin Web­ster can’t wait for the Port of Broome walk­way to open com­pletely so they can get into some se­ri­ous fish­ing. Closed in May, 2016. Par­tially re­opened Septem­ber last year. Lack of money de­lays full re­open­ing.

Broome Advertiser - - Front Page - Jakeb Wad­dell

The Kim­ber­ley Port Author­ity’s plan to re­open the en­tire pub­lic walk­way along­side the jetty in Broome in 2018 af­ter it closed two years ago will not go ahead.

The pop­u­lar fish­ing spot and tourist attraction was closed to the pub­lic amid safety con­cerns in May 2016, with the first 180m of the 640m board­walk re­open­ing in Septem­ber last year.

The KPA said on its web­site in Au­gust last year that the re­main­ing sec­tion would “not be com­pleted un­til some­time in 2018”.

The on­line post was amended on Fri­day to re­move this line.

But the or­gan­i­sa­tion said last week that it did not have the funds for any walk­way works in the 20182019 fi­nan­cial year.

KPA chief ex­ec­u­tive Kevin Schel­lack said the walk­way was recog­nised as an im­por­tant com­mu­nity fa­cil­ity.

“We just don’t have the funds to put into a non-rev­enue earn­ing fa­cil­ity at this point, as we have been in a low-trade en­vi­ron­ment over the last two years or so,” he said.

“That doesn’t mean we won’t con­tinue to look for op­por­tu­ni­ties to fund fur­ther restora­tion works on it.

“The port is there to fa­cil­i­tate trade and our first and para­mount obli­ga­tion is to ful­fil our char­ter so we have to use avail­able funds to firstly en­sure the up­grades to our crit­i­cal as­set the wharf are be­ing com­pleted.”

Mr Schel­lack said $527,413 had been spent on the walk­way up­grade out of a pos­si­ble $1 mil­lion to fin­ish the work. He said KPA had com­pet­ing projects, such as the chan­nel op­ti­mi­sa­tion project, which re­quired pri­ori­ti­sa­tion to ad­here to safety stan­dards.

Broome Fish­ing Club vice-pres­i­dent Wes Francks said recre­ational fishers across the re­gion were dis­ap­pointed they were still un­able to ac­cess the full walk­way. “It has been a tra­di­tion for lo­cal peo­ple to be able to fish off the jetty,” he said.

“There has been lit­tle cor­re­spon­dence with the gen­eral pub­lic at all in terms of when it would re­open and the time frames are com­pletely out of whack.

“Now it won’t even hap­pen this fi­nan­cial year.”

Mr Francks said although the first 180m of the jetty was ac­ces­si­ble, low tides lim­ited the abil­ity to fish in this area.

Pic­ture: Jakeb Wad­dell

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