Pontoon close to float

Work on the much-anticipated Port Gawler gangway and pontoon is progressing, but the project hasn’t been without its setbacks.

Two Wells Regional Action Team (TWRAT) is behind the idea, which was first mooted late last year, with Malcolm Frost coordinating the project.

Mr Frost said site preparations have now been completed in readiness for the installation of the pontoon, with the piles capped and surface finished along with their fittings.

“The concrete entrance block to the first of the two gangways has been installed,” he said.

“The contractor is basically ready to complete the whole installation, which should only take about one or two days work.”

However, Mr Frost said completion of the project was being delayed due to a lack of approval from the Adelaide Plains Council.

“It is requiring engineering justification for all of the design criteria,” he explained.

“A generic pack, which was accepted and approved by another council for a similar installation was supplied to APC planning section, but was not accepted.”

Mr Frost said a quote from a marine engineering firm was sought to get the extra information the council required, but it was rejected by TWRAT as too costly, having no timeline, and an open ended commitment for any extra work that may be needed on signing approval of  its quote.

To try to satisfy APC’s planning requirements, TWRAT has chosen to be the guarantor of the structural integrity and to gain insurance for the structural integrity until the planned hand over to DEWNR in July 2018 as set out by the group’s Crown Lands Licence to Construct.

Mr Frost said the state government’s department of environment, water and natural resources (DEWNR) was helping with the process.

Adelaide Plains Council development and community general manager, Robert Veitch, agreed the project was waiting on planning approval from council.

“It’s purely regulatory at the moment,” Mr Veitch said.

“The pontoon was built without any engineering documentation that we could assess it on.”

Mr Veitch explained council was concerned about the structural stability of the pontoon, especially during a major storm.

“What the hope is, is that they will be able to supply council with a design certification, which will then allow council to issue full development approval,” he said.

Mr Veitch said the pontoon project already had planning approval.

DEWNR’s Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary operations manager, Ian Falkenberg, who is supporting TWRAT on its application, said the department was trying to facilitate a resolution but it was a lengthy process.

“We’re talking to a number of engineers who might be able to provide advice on this issue,” Mr Falkenberg said.

“We all want to see this structure put in place out there, and it’s fairly important the community group get that development approval.”

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