Investigation call over wall

David SalvaireMidwest Times
The Carnarvon fascine wall.
Camera IconThe Carnarvon fascine wall. Credit: Francesca Mann

Carnarvon’s business community has joined a chorus of voices calling for an investigation into the Shire of Carnarvon’s handling of the multimillion-dollar fascine surge wall contracts.

A report commissioned by the Shire recently found immediate remedial work was needed because of significant corrosion to the steel sheet piling of the 808m wall.

Last month the Shire voted to put out tenders for repairs which angered some in the business community, who say ratepayers should not be left with the bill.

In response to public questions to the council in November, 2012, Shire president Karl Brandenburg said he had independently queried the materials provided by the WA-based Curnow Group that were to be used for the development.

He said he had been reassured by design engineers and contractors that the material was “more than suitable with a 50-plus year guarantee”. But only three years after the wall’s construction, repairs are needed.

Carnarvon Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Luke Vandeleursaid members were concerned with the failure of the wall and frustrated at being left with the cost of its repair.

“We want the 50-plus year guarantee activated and an investigation into how we arrived in this position,” he said.

“In addition to questions being raised at (yesterday’s) council meeting, the Chamber has written to the minister for local government because to date the Shire council has shown no appetite for an investigation.”

Since the wall was constructed in 2013, allegations of wrongdoing by staff have been investigated and while errors in judgement were raised, there were no conclusive findings of unlawful conduct by Shire staff.

A statement from Mr Brandenburg said he was aware of community concerns.

“The wall is ... corroding more quickly than had been projected,” the statement said.

“We are aware that there are calls for yet another investigation,” he said.

“Despite ... investigations by the ACCC and the CCC, with no adverse findings of intentional wrongdoing, council is willing to fully co-operate with another investigation should that be determined to be appropriate by the department.”

He said those who claim to have “bulletproof evidence” regarding wrongdoing should report their concerns to the shire or authorities.

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