Granite Island needs new causeway
A new causeway to Granite Island needs to be built at Victor Harbor as a priority project with a Federal funding contribution, according to the Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie.
CAPTION: This photograph was taken in spring last year when Rebekha caught up with South Coast supporters at the Victor Harbor to Granite Island causeway.
“Enough is enough. We cannot keep closing an iconic tourism attraction such as the horse tram because the 150-year-old causeway is feeling its age,” Rebekha said.
“The heritage-listed causeway will always have a place at Victor Harbor but we need a new structure built to modern standards,” Rebekha said today.
“Today I have written to the Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Minister, Michael McCormack, to ask him to find funding to contribute towards what will be a multi-million dollar project.
“The Victor Harbor Council and the State Government shouldn’t have to bear the monetary burden alone.
“The horse-drawn tram attracts thousands to the South Coast and is a huge economic driver for the local economy.
“According to Tourism Research Australia, the South Coast received more 1.2 million tourists in 2016 and tourism was worth $163 million per annum to the region.”
Rebekha’s call for Federal assistance comes as the operation of the horse tram service has been temporarily suspended for the second time this month due to deterioration of support piles along the causeway. The first suspension was prompted by an incident on New Year’s Day when a pylon partially gave way.
The State Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure is expected to deliver its final independent engineering assessment report later this week.
“Even with the closure, the Council’s strict heat policy would have stopped the horse tram this week. However, it would be an enormous loss if that state of affairs was made permanent and only pedestrians could make the trek to Granite Island,” Rebekha said.
“I understand the State Infrastructure Minister Stephan Knoll has called for the refurbishment of the existing causeway but I believe we need to look at a longer-term solution.
“The feedback I have received from the community is that a second, purpose-built steel structure would be cheaper and could open the way for other economic activities, perhaps even visits from cruise ships.
“Obviously that is a concept that needs further community debate but I believe it is a conversation we should be having and Federal support would be instrumental in making it happen.
“I hope to follow-up my letter to Minister McCormack with a meeting when Federal Parliament resumes next month and I look forward to continuing my discussions about this important issue with local community leaders.”