Member for Finniss David Basham speaks to Victor Harbor Community Action Group

KEY PLAYER: Member for Finniss David Basham supports a long term solution for the Causeway.
KEY PLAYER: Member for Finniss David Basham supports a long term solution for the Causeway.

The Causeway has been a hot topic since New Year's Day when it was forced to close due to its unsafe condition.

On January 22, it closed for a second time, stopping the horse tram operation and allowing only foot traffic and light vehicles to cross.

It is estimated the City of Victor Harbor has lost in excess of $80,000 due to the suspension of the horse tram. 

The Victor Harbor Action Group (VHCAG) had Member for Finniss David Basham as the guest speaker at its last public forum.

"It was clear that he had taken the time and trouble to ensure that he had been very well briefed and clearly explained all of the problems and the enormity of the repair/replacement exercise of the Causeway," VHCAG president Barry Wright said.

The State Government has commenced essential repairs. Repairs are expected to take up to eight weeks to complete.

The 2.5 tonne load limit will remain in place as the works are undertaken and there may be some short-term vehicle and pedestrian access restrictions to ensure public safety as the works are undertaken.

Mr Basham said that a lot of the replacement piles were actually concrete wrapped in plastic and the current state of those need to be checked as well.

"It seems the preference is for a new causeway build and it is Mr Basham's belief that Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Stephan Knoll and Deputy Premier Vickie Chapman are also of that opinion," Mr Wright said.

EXPERIENCE: Victor Harbor councillor Carol Schofield is a key member of the new Horse Tram Authority Board, which will oversee the operation of the Horse Tram.

EXPERIENCE: Victor Harbor councillor Carol Schofield is a key member of the new Horse Tram Authority Board, which will oversee the operation of the Horse Tram.

"Some ball park figures for both options that Mr Basham give the forum were $20 million to complete extensive safety repairs to the existing causeway and approximately another $1 million every seven years for continuing repairs, as it deteriorates further and that will only see the structure remain standing for about 40 years and with all the replacements, it won't be the original causeway anyway.

"It will cost approximately $30 million for a new causeway build and that will last for approximately 100 years. Mr Basham has undertaken to keep us informed as events unfold."

Mr Wright said the VHCAG was concerned on the safety of the Causeway.

"As much as we would all like to see the original heritage causeway remain, it appears that just isn't feasible and no matter what is done it will collapse in about 40 years. It was also exciting to hear that with the new technologies and materials available these days, it is possible to make a new causeway look just like the heritage one if desired," he said.

It is hoped the Horse Drawn Tram and Granite Island services will resume as soon as possible.

A new Horse Tram Authority Board has been appointed by the City of Victor Harbor to over see the operation.

It consists of Roland Roccioletti - Independent, three year term, Rachel Kennedy - Independent, three year term, Paul Brown - Independent, two year term, Nigel Catt - Independent, two year term and Councillor Carol Schofield - Elected Member of the City of Victor Harbor for the term of the current council.

City of Victor Harbor Mayor Moira Jenkins said the new Board consisted of people of the highest calibre.

"We have people with international marketing experience and the ability to promote, not just the Horse Drawn Tram operation, but Victor Harbor," Dr Jenkins said.

"It is important councillor Carol Schofield is on the Board, as she played a vital role being part of the inaugural Horse Tram committee."   

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