Jetty?s future not so bright

By DAVID MOASE

ON hot summer nights, Ron Sackville loves nothing more than wandering along the Coffs Harbour jetty to enjoy the sea breeze.

This summer he will have to find another way to cool down because vandals have plunged the jetty into darkness.

Lighting structures along the pier are regularly put out of action because people rocking and swinging on them cause the poles to bend and break.

As a result, what should be one of Coffs Harbour's most popular night-time areas has become, in Mr Sackville's words, dark and dangerous. "My wife and I like to walk along the jetty on warm nights but now we don't feel it is safe to do so," Mr Sackville said.

"It is certainly not a safe place for young families because the area is quite dangerous with the lights out."

Coffs Harbour City Council's director of city services, Stephen Sawtell, said the jetty lighting was a source of ongoing frustration for the council.

"The lights are constantly being vandalised and we're pretty fed up with it," he said.

"People rock and bend the light structures and as a result they stop working and have to be replaced."

Mr Sawtell said lighting structures along the length of the jetty were due for replacement, which would happen about March next year.

The loss of the jetty landing platform has also diminished the attraction of the area, according to Mr Sackville.

The platform broke away from the main jetty structure after being hit by big seas during the October storms which left the Coffs Coast being declared a natural disaster zone.

The damage caused to the jetty by the storm left the council with little choice but to remove the landing platform for safety reasons.

The area is now blocked by temporary fencing and cannot be used as a launching pad for thrillseekers leaping into the harbour.

"They (jetty jumpers) are doing it on the other side (to the landing platform) but it is a lot harder there," Mr Sackville said.

Despite Mr Sack-ville's concerns, jetty jumping was alive and well yesterday.

Six-year-old Brodey Ford, of Coffs Harbour, was among a number of groups of daredevils, young and old, launching themselves from the jetty yesterday after climbing over or through the railing.

They were using two narrow ladders on the southern side of the pier to climb back up to the deck.

Mr Sawtell said he did not know when the landing platform would be replaced.

"We are still waiting on a report from our insurance company," he said.



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