Ceduna District Council operations manager Grant Drummond is confident construction of the Thevenard Marine Offloading Facility will be finished by the end of 2018.
Construction is underway on what the council calls ‘package one’ of the works, focusing on the supply of rock for the structure by digging and stockpiling.
‘Package two’ involves the breakwater construction, while ‘package three’ relates to dredging and ‘package four’ is the construction of berthing pens and navigation markers.
With work having already started, tenders have been called for packages two and three, with the final package to soon follow.
Mr Drummond said work on the Thevenard facility was progressing well.
“We have broken works up into a number of packages to maximise the opportunities for local contractors to be involved in the project,” he said.
“Work is underway in package one on Lot 5 on the Thevenard peninsula to dig out rock and put it into stockpiles.”
The state government has contributed $1.5 million to the facility’s construction and Regional Development Minister Geoff Brock said he was pleased the project was moving forward as he toured the site on Monday.
“It is mind-boggling what the council is doing with private enterprise and the community, in conjunction with the state government, with the Thevenard project,” he said.
“This project is going to open up more opportunities for fishing trawlers to come in and unload at an efficient time, instead of having to wait at the wharf itself, with the opportunity for future growth and opening up for more trawlers to come in.”
Mr Drummond said awarding tenders for packages two and three and calling tenders for package four works were the next steps.
“Tenders for package two and three have been called and assessed and negotiations with those tenderers are being undertaken to enable that part of the project to proceed,” he said.
“Council has experienced some delays in getting a variation to the development approval approved but at this point all approvals we require for present activities are in place.
“With these projects, as we engage additional contractors, additional plans and approvals are required for future stages – for example, there needs to be a dredging management plan.”
Mr Drummond said organising the contractor for the breakwater was crucial for the construction of the facility.
“Once we get the breakwater contractor engaged we are expecting a 12-month build time,” he said.
“To be finished at the end of 2018 is our goal and while it would’ve been nice to have contracts awarded by now, we are still looking at the end of 2018.”
The industry had been stunted in the region because operations at the Port of Thevenard are subject to wharf access restrictions where bulk export vessels have priority use, however Mr Drummond predicted the facility would provide a boost to the local commercial fishing industry.
“It means we can get the commercial trawler boat industry back into the region,” he said.
“Raptis and Sons commenced in Thevenard but can’t operate here because they can’t get access to the wharf.
“It is about reestablishing the industry with benefits for the town through money and new jobs and as a purpose-built facility there are opportunities for additional operators to work from the region in the largely untapped resource of the Great Australian Bight.”
Mr Brock said further growth in the industry was possible.
“I’m passionate about our regions and what I have seen is the opportunity for growth on the West Coast.”