Nearly 300 people packed into the Flinders Hall on Saturday 8 May to discuss the recently announced plans to demolish 180 metres of the historic pier. The plan was announced last year by the Minister for Ports, Fishing and Boating, Melissa Horne MP, but it was not reported in the media at the time. Residents only found out last month thanks to Mornington Peninsula News.
During the meeting, Flinders residents were also informed for the first time that the Government is commencing an assessment for a multi-lane boat ramp on the foreshore of the Flinders beach.
The already endangered weedy sea dragon, an emblem used by the State of Victoria, will be put at significant risk if the Government proceeds with plans to replace the historic Flinders Pier with a concrete boat ramp for jet skis and power boats. Dr Neil Hallam provided a valuable explanation of the Weedy Sea Dragon’s life cycle; and its dependence on the coral that is attached to the pier’s pylons as an important food source.
The meeting was also addressed by local Member of the Legislative Assembly Chris Brayne and Councillor David Gill who both support the preservation of the Flinders Pier. Also in attendance were Mayor of Mornington Peninsula Shire Despi O’Connor and CEO John Baker, along with local diving groups, conservationists, residents and supporters.
The weedy sea dragon lives among the timber pylons that support the pier. Flinders has since become a destination for divers from around the world following a documentary by David Attenborough and the BBC filmed at Flinders about 5 years ago http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20170112-sea-dragons-in-beautiful-dance
The historic Flinders Pier dates back to 1866 and was once the only access point to our small village on the Mornington Peninsula. The Flinders Community Association wants the pier to be restored after being allowed to fall into disrepair by the Victorian Government. At the end of the meeting, all those in attendance were asked to give a show of hands if they want the Flinders Pier preserved and restored. The overwhelming vote in favour provides a mandate for the FCA to now move forward and help Save the Flinders Pier. An Online Petition has since been set-up to mobilise broader community support across Victoria.