Council moves on Wirrina Cove following court action

CEO speaks out: District Council of Yankalilla CEO Nigel Morris says council will be consulting with the state government over the future of Wirrina Marina.
CEO speaks out: District Council of Yankalilla CEO Nigel Morris says council will be consulting with the state government over the future of Wirrina Marina.

The Yankalilla District Council has moved to safeguard the future of the Wirrina Cove Marina.

This comes after reports the state government has issued notices to Marina St Vincent operator New Wave Aerospace, to terminate its lease of the Wirrina Cove facility.

A hearing has been scheduled for January 31.

In response to a report published in The Advertiser on December 2, mayor Glen Rowlands raised a motion on notice regarding the issue at Yankalilla's December council meeting.

This motion noted the report which stated the District Court had heard that Infrastructure Minister Stephan Knoll had issued notices regarding the termination of the lease at the facility.

The Times contacted Mr Knoll's office for comment and a spokesperson confirmed that the matter was currently before the courts and that Mr Knoll would not comment further at this time.

"Any discussions with council, should they be requested, must await the outcome of the hearing," the spokesperson said.

Mayor Rowland's motion aimed to ensure the "ongoing ability for the community to utilise the Marina Facility and to provide an opportunity to maintain and enhance the Wirrina Marina area that council write to Minister Knoll, Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government to seek a meeting to discuss the future of the Wirrina Marina."

The motion also required a report be provided to council following any discussions with Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure, and that all decisions relating to the future of the marina be made by the full council.

Two deputations by Trevor Gadd and Angus Forbes were also heard at the meeting, raising alternatives to council's initial exploration of leasing the site, which was sidelined following Mr Gadd and Forbes statements.

Alternatives they presented included a committee of berth holders operating the facility.

District Council of Yankalilla CEO, Nigel Morris said council understood there had been long term issues relating to a need to dredge the marina to provide greater access to all berths.

"It has also been reported that it has ran out of fuel on several occasions causing distress to not only berth holders, but putting emergency vehicles that launch from Wirrina at risk of not being able to operate," said Mr Morris.

"There is also currently a class action by berth holders with the lease holder over lease fees."

Mr Morris said Wirrina Marina is an important piece of infrastructure that was not only used by the local community, but as a gateway for visitors to enter the district by water and for emergency watercraft to launch to answer the call for assistance.

"The marina provides a safe haven for boats to take refuge on their trips to and from Kangaroo Island in bad weather," he said.

"The Wirrina Marina is in a spectacular part of South Australia and has so much potential. Council would like to see the Wirrina Marina continue to be available for all users, provide the required infrastructure, be dredged, updated, beautified and be operating effectively and cost efficient."

According to Mr Morris, council was planning to meet with Mr Knoll or a delegate as soon as possible to commence discussions.

He said council intended on having a broad discussion on the future of the Wirrina Marina and ask to be kept informed and be involved in any future decision making in the community asset.

"Council will represent the many District Council of Yankalilla ratepayers that have an interest in the facility," said Mr Morris.

"Council understands that there is currently significant expenses required to get the Wirrina Marina to the required standard and will be seeking feedback from the state government on where this funding will be coming from."

Mr Morris also said council had heard from the community over many years, concerns they have in regard to the marina and their desires for the area.

"Prior to any long-term decision making by council, the community will be consulted, but at this stage council is just seeking discussions on the future of the Wirrina Marina," said Mr Morris.

"Council will also continue to engage with berth holders most effected by the future of the marina, including Trevor and Angus, to ensure the best outcome for the community is achieved."