A BOAT owner wants Parks Victoria to replace or repair the timber jetty inside Mornington harbour that it closed one year ago.
Paul Hasenkam, of Mount Eliza, says Parks should increase annual mooring fees and use the extra money to maintain the jetty.
He says the jetty and stone wall area should always be open to the public.
“Normally, lots of kids fish off the jetty as, during rough weather, it’s more sheltered than fishing off the breakwater,” he said.
Mr Hasenkam has asked Parks to provide financial details of all its piers and jetties to determine what income they generate and what fees and charges are needed to cover costs.
“It’s likely that little or none of the fees have been reinvested back into the Fishermans jetty’s maintenance program in the past 10 years, which may have prolonged its lifespan and ongoing serviceability,” he said.
Parks Victoria has not renewed or is not making berths available along the stone wall near the Mornington jetty. but has allowed six long-term boats to keep their moorings.
Fees to berth inside what is known as Fishermans jetty are $989 for 2020/21 and outside the jetty $1487. Fees to berth along the stone wall are $124 for 2020/21.
Mr Hasenkam has also written to Fishing and Boating Minister Melissa Horne and sent off a freedom-of-information request to Parks Victoria for all income and expenses relating to the jetty over the past 10 years.
“Parks replied that there is no revenue from the jetty and they don’t separate expenses for the 40-something piers they manage,” he said. “I find it astounding that they have no charter of accounts detailing the revenue and expenses for each pier. It’s a failure in basic accounting principles and may relate to their inability to maintain the piers efficiently.”
Mr Hasenkam said this was a “terrible outcome” for the local community.
“The jetty is not managed by locals with a direct interest and it would seem that Parks is lacking that capacity to maintain and properly manage the assets that it is responsible for,” he said.
“From the condition report, I doubt there have been any programs in place for the maintenance of Fishermans jetty, even though all moorings have been occupied.
“I wish to work through this openly so that we may find a positive solution for the local community, particularly as the government lifts the [epidemic] restrictions gradually, we move into summer and, hopefully, return to some normality in all of our lives.”
Acting regional director marine and maritime Graeme Davis said Parks Victoria recognised the economic and social benefits of Fisherman’s jetty but that “ensuring public safety is our priority”.
“The jetty will remain closed to all, including fishers and boaters, except about six berth holders, while we continue to prioritise the repair and renewal of local port assets for all Victorians to enjoy,” he said.
“We continue to work with the existing six berth holders to facilitate managed safe access where possible.”