Pile driving has started as part of the Shute Harbour restoration project. Vassallo Constructions' Jamie Sleeman, Mayor Andrew Willcox, Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen and WRC's Trevor Williams.
Pile driving has started as part of the Shute Harbour restoration project. Vassallo Constructions' Jamie Sleeman, Mayor Andrew Willcox, Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen and WRC's Trevor Williams.

Pile driving starts at Shute Harbour

PILE driving has started at Shute Harbour as part of works to rebuild the marine facility, with the steel piles supporting the new wharf and pontoons.

The $54.5 million restoration project will see a complete rebuild of the seawall, terminal, pontoons and carpark at the marine facility.

Earlier today, Whitsunday Mayor Andrew Willcox and Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen paid a visit to the work site.

Mayor Willcox said it was very exciting to see them banging the first piles in.

“This project has taken a long time to come to fruition but that’s because it’s a very complex project in engineering terms,” he said.

“I would like to thank Jackie Trad and the Palaszczuk government, and also George Christensen, Member for Dawson, and the Federal Government for providing the funding for this project, which is testament to local, federal and state governments putting the politics aside and working together for the benefit of the community, and I look forward to seeing the finished product.”

George Christensen MP said it was ‘fantastic’ to see the work underway.

“It is certainly something that has been timed just right,” he said.

“Obviously, the Whitsundays needs infrastructure activity like this and it has generated 60 jobs as a result, which is great for now but for the future this becomes another tourism asset for the region and we will need to rebuild tourism after this pandemic is over, and this will be one of the ways we do it.”

Not everyone is as excited about the start of pile driving, with Shute Harbour residents receiving a letter saying the piling work would be delivered as a seven-days a week work program.

Resident Mal Priday said listening to pile driving nearly every day for the next five months was ‘hard to accept’.

“Even council’s own bi-laws say you can’t generate noise on Sunday but they apparently waived that without any consultation with the community,” Mr Priday said, adding he had measured the noise at 50 decibels inside his home.

“It’s loud - sometimes it only goes for 30 minutes, sometimes longer. I’m not sure how council did this without consultation.

“There’s no question that it’s going to be a great facility when it’s done but sanity has to prevail. Seven days a week for five months seems to be a bit over the top. They have said it will only be 11 Sundays over the five-month period but it’s still Sunday.”

Director of Infrastructure Services, Matthew Fanning said they were piling seven days a week to significantly restrict the length of piling.

“By adding that extra day, it actually reduces the piling I think by two weeks, which is going to have a lesser impact on the community,” he said.

“What we’ve asked for the piling is that hopefully the contractor does not make noise on Sunday before 9am and after 4pm. So 9am-4pm only, so residents aren’t affected significantly by the noise.”

The $35 million construction tender for the rebuild of the Shute Harbour terminal and seawall was awarded to Vassallo Constructions Pty Ltd in November 2019.

The marine facility was badly damaged during Severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie, in 2017, and eligible works received joint funding from the Commonwealth and State Governments under the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA).

The new seawall will take approximately eight months to build and once this is built, the new terminal buildings and pontoons will be installed. The restoration project is expected to be completed by mid-2021, weather permitting.


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