SORRY SIGHT: The unsightly jetty and foreshore can be seen beside Mayor John Rohde, left, Andrew Johnson, Frome Independent MP Geoff Brock and Kathryn Johnson.Geoff Brock has exerted some political muscle to demand $350,000 from the State Government for a key foreshore project.
DEMAND: Independent Frome MP Geoff Brock, left, outlines his vision to Andrew Johnson, Yvonne Begg, Kaz Eaton, Kathryn Johnson and Mayor John Rohde.
Describing the area at the rear of the Royal Port Pirie Yacht Club as a “blur on our region” and a “disgrace”, he called for a jetty to be replaced with a pontoon and for a boardwalk to be built.
The Independent Member for Frome and Cabinet Ministerhopes the development can attract yachts from Spencer Gulf into the shore and boost activities by a growing number of junior sailors in the city.
Mr Brock outlined his funding plea in the glare of the media at the foreshore.
Mayor John Rohde Port Pirie Regional Council chief executive Andrew Johnson and council infrastructure director Kathryn Johnson were invited to the meeting.
“I am demanding $350,000 from the government,” Mr Brock told the group.
He was perhaps mindful of his pivotal role after the 2014 election when he used his then balance-of-power to garner many benefits from the Weatherill Government for Port Pirie.
Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis said later: “Mr Brock has raised this project with me and I am considering it as part of the Budget.”
The State Budget is expected to be handed down by Mr Koutstantonis next month.
Mr Brock said the project would “finish” the dredging and boat ramp works costing the council about $2 million and which had come up short of the amount for the outstanding developments proposed by him.
“I want this done now and I want the State to pick up the shortfall of $350,000 for a boardwalk and pontoon for the yachting fraternity,” he said.
“The Gulf Cruise and Tripolis are not coming in here any more.”
Yacht club treasurer and junior sailing instructor Kaz Eaton said her organisation had started a junior sailing program.
“It has just taken off. We had no junior members and went to 13 within a few weeks of starting,” she said.
“We started with three dinghies and have expanded to six dinghies.”
She said the jetty was owned and maintained by the club, but it was prepared to remove the structure and return the area to public space, if council puts in a pontoon for visiting yachts and communityuse.
“Visiting yachts come into Port Broughton, which has a pontoon at the end of its jetty, but not Port Pirie,” she said.
“Spencer Gulf is increasingly becoming a cruising ground for yachts because of the baby boomers, but they are not coming into Port Pirie.”
She agreed the city could tap into a huge floating resource and promote the port as a destination and venue for events.
Council chief executive officer Andrew Johnson said the launching facility was substandard and the area needed tidying.
“We welcome any funding and are disappointed that it was cut out of the original application to the State,” he said.
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