Port Noarlunga jetty stairs are unlikely to be replaced in time for summer

Caution: Port Noarlunga resident Michael Carter stands next to a caution sign along the jetty. Repairs are unexpected to be complete until after the busy summer season. Photo: Supplied.
Caution: Port Noarlunga resident Michael Carter stands next to a caution sign along the jetty. Repairs are unexpected to be complete until after the busy summer season. Photo: Supplied.

The diving access stairs on Port Noarlunga Jetty which were destroyed during a late November storm are unlikely to be replaced during the summer period - cutting off one of South Australia’s most popular diving attractions from easy use.

On November 20, a powerful storm managed to rip the old staircase from the Port Noarlunga Jetty, leaving the jetty with no end access, a particularly important aspect for people partaking in diving and snorkeling.

City of Onkaparinga’s Acting Director of City Operations, Daryl Sowerby said marine engineers completed an inspection of the jetty after the damage caused by the 20 November 2018 storm and the loss of the existing diver access stairs.

“The inspection identified immediate repairs were required to make the area safe, and these were completed before Christmas,” he said.

“The inspection also identified additional work is required to reinforce the jetty structure to ensure its long-term stability during future storm events.

“This work requires mobilisation of a barge and piling equipment, and will be done when the equipment is on site for the new stair installation.

Despite these actions by Council, any action to replace the stairs will likely be unable to begin before April –leaving the jetty without end access for the remainder of the peak summer season.

Port Noarlunga resident Micheal Carter said the length of time needed to organise the construction and repair of the jetty steps is unacceptable by the City of Onkaparinga Council.

“Summer is the peak diving and snorkeling season at Port Noarlunga, but also attracts thousands of visiting swimmers/tourists, no access deters these visitors to the area and the only real benefit of the jetty stair absence is to the environment.

“It'll limit the number of people walking over the reef, finally giving the reef a chance to restore some of its life.

While the health of the reef is a sensitive issue, Mr Carter believes that not having the stairs at the end of the jetty is huge safety risk.

“Only having the halfway steps, encourages visitors to attempt swimming the distance to the reef.

“Personally, I've had to rescue a number of swimmers who've tried to swim the distance over the years (either to the beach or reef).

“No steps at the end of the jetty significantly increases the risk of drownings this summer, especially with school holidays and rising temperatures.”

The jetty was originally an asset belonging to the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure but was transferred to the City of Onkaparinga.

The City of Onkaparinga are currently looking into bringing repairs forward.