February 15th 2004
Jetty heritage at stake
When state Member for Townsville Mike Reynolds announced in the week before the election that an agreement had been reached between Queensland Transport and Townsville City Council over the future of the Picnic Bay Jetty, the news was met with elation on Magnetic Island. But as Islanders look closer at the deal: of just what is to be preserved and how, doubts that either level of government understand or appreciate the heritage values of the jetty are being raised.
Zanita Davies, President of the Magnetic Island History and Craft Centre, and an integral player in the campaign to save the jetty, is clearly disappointed. "The jetty is just perfect as it is. The structure is a classic example of traditional jetty construction. The government now wants to remove the timber railings and replace them with galvanised iron, replace the shelter at the head of the jetty and add another shade structure in the middle. Any action that undermines the jetty's inherent values, visual or structural, will destroy its historical integrity," Zanita told Magnetic Times.
Zanita is hoping Islanders and Townsville residents who have supported the campaign to preserve the jetty will support her efforts to have the jetty maintained predominantly as it is.
Lorna Hempstead, President of the Magnetic Island Community Development Association has already written to Queensland Transport's Regional Director, Noel Rumble, supporting Zanita's appeal. In the letter she notes, "...replacing the current longitudinal rails with galvanised steel (for which we are reading modern vertical railing) would surely negate much of the heritage value and be, aesthetically, totally inappropriate to 'heritage'," adding, "...the wooden handrails are much more robust in withstanding the ravages of salt water, they do not rust and need only an occasional coat of paint".
Lorna also refers to the initial report (click here for: Picnic Bay Jetty saved) that, "the State Government will lodge an application for Heritage Listing once the initial repairs are complete," but adds, "The community's understanding is that listing has already been agreed to and it is merely on hold while the long-term arrangements were being put into place".
Zanita Davies told Magnetic Times, "An essential component of the jetty's heritage value is being able to see how it functioned as a jetty". She suggests further that the governments, "have confused maintenance and preservation with modernisation and conformity with the recently built pier on the Strand.
"This is a heritage matter. If we wish to have our jetty included in the Heritage Register any modifications to the jetty must consider the heritage status of the structure, as determined by the nomination and the Queensland Heritage Council.
Zanita's concerns are that the heritage nomination be confirmed by the Queensland Heritage Council as a matter of urgency.