DISREPAIR: Wangi RSL Club Treasurer Ross Ahrens standing on the jetty that will be closed on June 1 until further notice because of its dilapidated condition. Picture: Max Mason-HubersFACING a massive replacement bill and delays to possible funding, Wangi RSL is having to closeits heavily used but dilapidated jetty.
The main part of the jetty, which has beena boating mainstayin Wangi Bay, will be closed off from June 1.
Wangi RSL’s Treasurer, Ross Ahrens, said the main jetty was falling into disrepair and was becoming “a big liability”.
“We just don’t have a choice,” he said of the closure.
The club intends to spend about $20,000 on repairing a smaller finger wharf that comes off the main jetty, so that small boats, such as craft fromthe neighbouring Wangi RSL Amateur Sailing Club, still havea facility to access the shore.
The RSL club has begun distributing a letter to jetty users advising the main jetty would be closed until further notice.
“The period of closure to allow for repairs to be undertaken is presently unknown due to the preliminary cost estimates being prohibitive,” the letter states.
But Mr Ahrens said the main jetty was beyond repair and would have to be replaced. He has estimated that would cost between $1 million to $1.1 million to build a new jetty.
To fund that work, the club has been looking at a number of options.
One avenue has been to apply for a State Government grant through Roads and Maritime Services. Mr Ahrens said the club had been told by RMS there would be a delay in reviewing applications.
Another funding option is for the club to sell the land the sailing club occupies. The sailing club has a 99-year “peppercorn” lease with the RSL. The sailing club has indicated it would be keen to buy the land, and Mr Ahrens said “negotiations had been progressing along that track”.
The sailing club is renowned for having been the home of Olympic gold medal sailors Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen, and it has hosted many national regattas and competitions.
The Wangi RSL jetty has been a Lake Macquarie landmarkfor about half a century, with yachts and powerboats berthing there to access the shore.
As a result, the closure of the main jetty is expected to have a flow-on effect through the Wangi community.
The Operations Manager of Wangi RSL, Angela Sanders, said the closure would hit the club’s business but also many others in the local shopping strip.
“It will affect the community of Wangi Wangi because we all prosper fromthe wharf,” Angela Sanders said. “It’s going to be detrimental to everybody’s business.”
Ms Sanders believed the loss of the jetty would also affect Wangi as a tourist destination,particularly during public holidays, such as Australia Day,when the facility was popular with boats.