Angelique Donnellan, 23 October 2015

The foreshore at Port Stanvac south of Adelaide will be open to the public, but not for another seven years, despite closing down as an oil refinery more than a decade ago.

Mobil Oil Australia shut down Port Stanvac in 2003 and will pay nearly $6 million to remediate the beach area.

It said it would not be safe to retain the port’s jetty for fishing because it was an industrial structure.

A groyne, or small jetty, would be upgraded for fishers and divers to use instead.

Save the Port Stanvac Jetty said the demolition was a lost opportunity for the company to create a recreational area for the community.

South Australian Development Minister Tom Koutsantonis said the wharf had to be demolished.

“While I appreciate some members of the community wanted the wharf to remain in place, no viable commercial use for the wharf was identified,” he said.

“We’ve explored every option and this represents the best way forward to ensure the greatest and safest use by local community, families, tourists, recreational fishers and divers.”

Mobil built the 670-metre long wharf in the 1960s to receive imported crude oil for refining at Port Stanvac.

Company spokeswoman Samantha Potts said it would remove all the wharf infrastructure and hand the lease for the foreshore back to the SA Government.

“We’ll work from our end to make that process as quick a possible and it may be less than the five-year period. We just don’t know from the remediation aspect at the moment,” she said.

She said the whole foreshore area would be finished within seven years.

“There’ll be a nice groyne area, a little beach area, boats will be able to come in, divers, it’ll be accessible by foot and by boat,” Ms Potts said.

“It’ll be a nice asset for the local community.”

Some wharf pylons will be kept for the marine habitat and divers.

“It is quite a pristine environment. There are some nice marine features there.”

Mobil said it was continuing to work with the Environment Protection Authority to assess contamination on the actual refinery site and develop a plan for its clean-up.

The company is required to remediate the site to an industrial standard.

“A two-year process just to assess what’s required and towards the end of next year we’ll start the actual remediation which could take up to 10 years,” Ms Potts said.

“There is no doubt there are parts of the site that have not been used in the refining business out of the 242 hectares.

“It is a site that has a lot of potential for future development.”

Local group says jetty a ‘lost opportunity’

Save the Port Stanvac Jetty spokesman Shannon Poulton said the decision to demolish the structure was disappointing.

“Noone was saying that we wanted access to an industrial wharf not suitable for recreation, we were saying that the second biggest oil company in the world had the opportunity to do something good for the community, remediate the site and the jetty so that it was useful to the local community,” he said.

Mr Poulton said the jetty would have been great for recreational use.

“One only has to look to the southern suburb’s closest neighbours, Henley, Brighton, Glenelg, they all have something in common and it’s a jetty with a square,” he said.

“This isn’t just about fishing, this could have been a significant driver for the local economy and in fact it should have been.

“We’re left wondering what kind of went wrong here.”

Extracted in full from ABC News.