For the people, by the people: New jetty opened

FIRST WALK: From left, Liberty Primary Steel Managing Director Jason Schell, Member for GIles Eddie Hughes, Whyalla Mayor Clare McLaughlin, Premier Steven Marshall and Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey on the new $7.8 million jetty.
FIRST WALK: From left, Liberty Primary Steel Managing Director Jason Schell, Member for GIles Eddie Hughes, Whyalla Mayor Clare McLaughlin, Premier Steven Marshall and Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey on the new $7.8 million jetty.

A jetty designed by the community, built by the community, for the community.

This was how Whyalla Mayor Clare McLaughlin described Whyalla's new $7.8 million jetty when officially opening it for the public on Wednesday.

Premier Steven Marshall, Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey, Member for Giles Eddie Hughes and Mayors from the Upper Spencer Gulf and beyond attended the much-anticipated opening.

Even British Billionaire Sanjeev Gupta made an appearance via a recorded video message, in which he said he was 'extremely proud' to be involved with the project.

Mr Gupta's GFG Alliance contributed 150 tonnes of steel for the construction of the jetty, while the state government pitched in $1 million.

The new jetty, which features an iconic 'loop' in its centre, is the same length as the Adelaide Oval and its twice the weight of the HMAS Whyalla.

Premier Marshall said the jetty was 'absolutely magnificent' and tipped it to become a 'national icon'.

"We need something to attract people to get off the track of east-west, come into Whyalla and spend some money in the local economy," he said.

"I think this jetty has what it takes, it's unique...people who come here and post photos of it will be attracting more and more waves of people to Whyalla."

Whyalla Mayor Clare McLaughlin said the new jetty would be a big plus for local tourism and that the community had been 'patiently waiting' for the opening.

"We know this is going to be an amazing tourism attraction because this is the only jetty of its kind in the southern hemisphere, people are going to want to come to Whyalla to see this," she said.

"Because it lights up at nighttime that makes it extra special, people will stay overnight so they can see the lights on."

OPEN: Whyalla Mayor Clare McLaughlin and Premier Steven Marshall cut the ribbon to open the new jetty.

OPEN: Whyalla Mayor Clare McLaughlin and Premier Steven Marshall cut the ribbon to open the new jetty.

COVID-19 restrictions meant Wednesday was a 'soft opening' for the jetty, featuring a host of invited guest and a small group of community members, however there are plans for a 'grand opening' in the future.

The original Whyalla Jetty was closed in 2018 after concerns about its condition were raised by resident Genine Gordon.

Council voted to invest in a new jetty and the 'loop' design was chosen through community consultation.

Port Adelaide company Maritime Constructions were contracted to undertake the build and began construction in mid-2019.

The new jetty received State Government safety approval through the Department for Infrastructure and Transport.

"This is a jetty purpose-built for walking and fishing, so the key safety features installed are the balustrades around the perimeter, creating a barrier for the public," Mayor McLaughlin said.

"We're asking for the people who come out here to act responsibly, and have installed signage indicating what's deemed unacceptable behaviour on the jetty."

Whyalla resident Lez Taylor, a Barngarla man who served as a monitor when the jetty was first being constructed, said the jetty was 'brilliant'.

"I am a fan of the design, it's ideal for what we have here in Whyalla," he said.

"The jetty is going to be packed with people all the time who are fishing and that kind of thing."