GALLERY: Catherine Hill Bay jetty may go

CATHERINE Hill Bay’s historic jetty could be gone within months unless a financially viable model to readapt it to an alternative use is found.

Lake Coal has applied to NSW Trade and Investment to demolish the wharf.

It has argued the dilapidated structure has become a safety hazard which would require about $100,000 a year to maintain.

The 240-metre-long structure, built in 1888, is one of the last remaining ocean jetties on Australia’s east coat.

A department spokeswoman confirmed the demolition application was proceeding.

However, before the approval is granted, Lake Macquarie Council needs to determine if the proposed demolition requires development consent.

Residents unsuccessfully applied to have the structure and the surrounding area heritage listed several years ago.

They now fear the structure could soon be lost due to a lack of funding and commitment to finding an alternative use.

‘‘This wharf is no different to other heritage items around the state that are expensive to maintain and insure,’’ resident Carmel Brown said.

‘‘To me, part of the problem comes down to what is in Sydney compared to what’s not in Sydney.’’

Catherine Hill Bay Progress Association secretary David Knock said it was unfortunate the icon might be lost because a financially viable alternative use could not be found.

‘‘No one has been able to find a model to get it operational,’’ he said.

‘‘Our preference is to keep it but we can’t find way to underpin the cost.’’

Lake Macquarie Council Deputy Mayor Laurie Coghlan said he personally supported retaining the wharf, but the council’s options were limited.

‘‘Who’s to say with other development at Catherine Hill Bay in the future there won’t be a demand for it?’’ he said.

‘‘The problem is ratepayers don’t have any money to put into it. We are trying to keep up with other services that the community demands.’’

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