All too often, we see prized fishing jetties desperately needing TLC and restoration abandoned, left to rot or demolished as the red tape around who is responsible in managing and maintaining them puts them in the ‘too-hard’ basket for many local authorities.
Huge credit then must be given to Dardanup Shire Council, who has stepped up to save a historic, popular fishing jetty on the south side of the Collie River.
The Collie River southern fishing platform was attached to the old Collie River Bridge, which was built in 1962 and managed by the Shire of Harvey in co-operation with Main Roads WA.
A new concrete and steel bridge was opened in April 2010, followed by construction of a new pedestrian boardwalk in 2011 linking the original jetty and fishing platform to the riverbank.
The eastern end of the boardwalk connected the facility to the Shire of Dardanup, while the western end connected the facility to the City of Bunbury.
Generations of fishing-mad mums, dads and kids have fished the north and south jetties, however, in recent times both have fallen into disrepair and have been closed off to the public.
As a result, The Dardanup Shire council – located inland from Bunbury and Australind – recently voted to save, refurbish and take ownership of the southern jetty and go it alone to restore it to its former glory as a crabbing and fishing hotspot, after negotiations with Main Roads and neighboring councils, including the City of Bunbury and Shire of Harvey – were unsuccessful.
Meanwhile, it is understood that plans are being considered to demolish the northern jetty (which is out of the Shire of Dardanup’s jurisdiction and control), which would send a wrecking ball through the hopes of local fishers to one day once again fish the currently closed dilapidated platform.
Dardanup Shire President Mick Bennett said the jetty was a well-used community facility and ensuring safe access to waterways for recreational activities was part of the Council’s strategic plan.
“The Collie River and its foreshore area in Eaton has special significance to residents of our shire as well as those in neighbouring areas,” Cr Bennett said.
“The river also has cultural, spiritual and historic significance to local Aboriginal people – particularly the Wardandi, Pindjarup and Wilman people who used this land for hunting, fishing, camping and ceremony, and to visit and pay respect to their sacred sites.
“For these reasons, Council felt compelled to ensure the jetty’s future and the ongoing enjoyment of its availability for all.”
News of the southern jetty’s reprieve was welcomed by local fishers.
Mitchell Cooper from Whitey’s Tackle in Australind said, “This is one of the most accessible spots along the whole waterfront of the Collie River and it’s a vital fishing platform for the area. It’s really the best spot for crabbing if you don’t have a boat and it’s great for young kids who want to go for tailor and crabs. To be honest, there is not much else here as far as decent jetties go.”
Recfishwest applauds the Shire of Dardanup for standing up for local fishers and doing what needs to be done to save a much-loved community fishing landmark.
“The pleasure and value these structures give as fishing platforms is simply priceless and every seaside town next to an estuary should have a jetty for local and visiting fishers,” said Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland. “Both these jetties clearly play a really important role in the social fabric of the local communities, providing families and friends with opportunities to get together and kids a healthy outdoor outlet all through fishing.
“So we’re really pleased the Shire of Dardanup values fishing and what it gives to the community by cutting through the red tape and taking the initiative.
“We hope that the jurisdictions and agencies responsible for the fishing platform on the northern riverbank show similar leadership and invest in its restoration and maintenance for future generations before it is lost forever.”
Recfishwest will keep you updated across our social platforms on information related to the Collie Bridge jetties – stay tuned.
For more information on the Shire of Dardanup website, click here.