Editor’s Desk: Geraldton’s jetty campaign remains up in the air, but is still worthy of support

Headshot of Kate Campbell
Kate CampbellGeraldton Guardian
Bussleton Jetty.
Camera IconBussleton Jetty. Credit: Albee Tan/Busselton Jetty

Will Geraldton ever have its own jetty again?

I honestly don’t know the answer to that. Either eventuality wouldn’t surprise me at this point.

I would love to see the project happen, as jetties can be magnets for locals and tourists alike and become an identifiable landmark for a city perhaps in need of more iconic attractions.

It’s great to see the momentum building for a jetty, but these long-term projects can quite often lose steam. And arguments can be mounted that the hundreds of thousands of dollars needed just to investigate the viability of a jetty before the millions needed to build it, could be better spent elsewhere, in areas providing more short-term relief to locals.

Rates relief, more parking in the CBD and beautifying streets are just some examples that come to mind.

But you need to dream big at times and Geraldton has been accused too many times of being happy (or scared) stuck in the status quo. What if this jetty project could deliver us something akin to Busselton’s iconic landmark? Wouldn’t that be worth the time, effort and expense?

In its history Geraldton has had two jetties — one known as the Esplanade Jetty (built in 1857) and the other the Railway Jetty (built in 1892-3 — but both were demolished in the 1940s and 50s.

Decades on, advocates for a jetty say the price tag would be about $12 million. Who knows how much higher those costs will be if we ever get to the construction phase?

I could see the sense from council this week slightly hitting the brakes on Mayor Shane Van Styn’s fast-track proposal to allocate $200,000 for a study off the bat. Rather the matter will be discussed in normal Budget talks.

Hopefully people won’t see this as a setback. It’s going to take a long time no matter what. You know what they say about slow and steady after all.

If the City does go ahead and support it and if Member for Durack Melissa Price’s public support of the project turns into Federal funding, then we would be off to an amazing start.

For the naysayers out there trying to jettison this idea, all I can say is this. It’s all well and good to think about the here and now (and rightly so), but we should never forget about longer term and what kind of city we want to leave behind for future generations.

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