Save Flinders Pier
- Provides a much-loved amenity to the people of Victoria;
- Has historic significance to the development of adjoining coastal communities;
- Delivers an economic benefit to Flinders through tourism and commercial use;
- Provides safe separation of pedestrians from vehicles that access the pier facility; and
- Serves as a world-renowned diving spot for the endangered Weedy Sea Dragon that is unique to the Mornington Peninsula.
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26 May 2022
Flinders Pier Saved
Heritage Recommendation for Pier a welcome start
Heritage Recommendation for Pier a welcome start
On 16 March 2022, the Executive Director of Heritage Victoria recommended that Flinders Pier and the Flinders Telegraph Complex be included in the Victorian Heritage Register. The Heritage Victoria recommendation can be read here.
This is still only a recommendation, and a final decision will be made by the Heritage Council of Victoria in June.
Heritage Victoria has based its recommendation on an extensive study which has evaluated the Flinders Pier against 8 criteria, of which three criteria are likely to be satisfied at the State Level. The results are summarised as follows:
Importance To Victoria”s Cultural History – YES
Contains attributes that are uncommon, rare or endangered – NO
Potential to yield more information about Victoria’s past – YES
Demonstrates characteristics of an historically important event or way of life. NO
Exhibits aesthetic characteristics. NO
Reveals a high degree of creative or technical achievement. NO
Evidence of a strong association to broader community or cultural groups. YES
Associated with the life or work of important Victorian(s). NO
It is possible that additional information from the consultation process could reverse one or more of the above results. In other words, members of the public now have the opportunity to identify anything else that is unique about the Flinders Pier; or prove an association with famous Victorians from our past.
Comments from the broader community will then inform the Heritage Council’s final decision on whether or not to officially include Flinders Pier on the Victorian Heritage Register.
Please have your say by completing the online submission form before the closing date of 17 May 2022. The form will take about 5 minutes to complete.
Flinders Pier Condition Report
In the absence of any detailed engineering assessment by Parks Victoria, the Flinders Community Association has undertaken its own condition report of the Flinders Pier. The report’s findings show that the pier’s entire substructure is in identical condition. In other words, the inner section earmarked for demolition by Parks Victoria is in the same condition as the outer section which Parks Victoria says will be retained. Parks Victoria is arguing that part of the pier has reached the end of its useful life, but not the rest of it, which doesn’t make sense when it is all in the same condition. Condition Assessment – SFP FCA Final Report 2021
Heritage Application for Flinders Pier
The Flinders Community Association’s campaign to Save Flinders Pier has had a small win, with the Flinders and District Historical Society successfully lodging an application to Heritage Victoria to list the pier on the Victorian Heritage Register. Heritage Victoria will undertake a statutory assessment under the Heritage Act (2017) to review whether the foreshore precinct demonstrates State level significance. The matter is ultimately determined by the Heritage Council and the full process is likely to take at least six months. The heritage application provides a small reprieve for the historic Flinders Pier, the first 180m of which is scheduled for demolition by Parks Victoria in 2022.
The Flinders Community Association has established a fighting fund to save the pier, and donations to the fund can be made clicking on this link to the MyCause donations platform.
Council Support for Flinders Pier
On 7 September, the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council voted unanimously to support our efforts to Save Flinders Pier. This is an important development in our effort to Stop Parks Victoria from demolishing the historic inner section of the pier.
During the September Council meeting, all Councillors voted unanimously to support Heritage Victoria’s consideration of the Flinders Historic Foreshore Precinct for the Victorian Heritage Register. The Council also acknowledged the advocacy efforts of the community and the FCA to save the pier through gaining media attention and an online petition; and agreed that the Mayor would write directly to the relevant Ministers stating the community and Council’s opposition to the demolition.
The Council also plans to engage external consultants to undertake a peer review of the Marine Ecology Survey that Parks Victoria has prepared ahead of the demolition; as well as peer reviews of the Jetty Removal Impact Assessment and the Heritage Impact Assessment.
We still have a long battle ahead but deeply appreciate Council’s support. Special thanks to Hayden Forrest from the Shire who prepared the recommendation. And also special thanks to Cr. David Gill who spoke extensively in its favour and Cr. Anthony Marsh for his support of the motion.
Support Builds for Flinders Pier
Sir David Attenborough, the greatest conservationist of our time, has lent his support to our efforts to save the habitat of the Weedy Sea Dragon which lives among the pylons of the Flinders Pier.
In a letter last month to the FCA, Sir David wrote:
“I am so sorry to hear of the threat to the habitat of the Weedy Sea Dragon on the Mornington Peninsula. I do indeed think that it is a most wonderful creature and if I find an opportunity to draw attention publicly to the changes that now threaten its survival, I will take them.”
The letter and our fight to save the historic Flinders Pier sparked considerable interest across the media, featuring on the front page of The Age newspaper, all the nightly television news services, 3AW and on the ABC.
Our petition to save the historic Flinders Pier has since reached 25,000 signatures.
We have learnt that Parks Victoria knew the pier required mi
nor maintenance to the pylons and failed to act in a manner that would ensure the ongoing integrity of the structure. We have also since discovered that Parks Victoria issued a tender in March 2016 for the replacement of decking and timbers for only half the pier – leaving the other half of the pier to fall into disrepair.
Furthermore, Parks Victoria proposes converting the concrete pier, originally built to safely separate vehicles from pedestrians, into a dual-use thoroughfare. Yet the concrete pier, measuring a width of only 4m, is not wide enough for trucks to safely pass pedestrians unless they stand still or walk in single file. In other words, the concrete pier is too narrow for people in wheel chairs or families with prams to safely pass a moving delivery or fuel vehicle under the new arrangements proposed by Parks Victoria.
We need to restore the historic Flinders Pier to ensure the safety of everyone who enjoys it. We need to preserve the habitat of the Weedy Sea Dragon, Victoria’s maritime symbol.
The FCA is continuing to request the State Government to examine options for the restoration of the historic Flinders Pier.
Please help by emailing your State member; writing a letter to your local newspaper; or donating to the FCA’s Save Flinders Pier fighting fund. Even the smallest of voices can make a difference.
Parks Victoria Plans for Pier Demolition
Parks Victoria has engaged consultants to prepare impact assessment reports, including heritage and marine and coastal implications. They expect the reports to be finalised in July 2021. They state
“The community will have the opportunity to participate in consultation activities as part of the preliminary planning and statutory referral stages of the project.”
Detailed information has been supplied here: Parks Victoria Press release also in this Community Update (which they headline “Flinders Jetty sustainable improvements”.
Save The Pier Update
The Committee of the Flinders Community Association has met to discuss next steps, following its Save the Pier public meeting in early May. The FCA believes this will be a ‘long burn’ issue, which means that decisions and actions will take some time to influence and we need to prepare for a drawn-out campaign that could run into next year.
The Committee has decided to focus its attention on two outcomes over the next 8 weeks.
The first is to request a face to face meeting with the Minister, Melissa Horne. The Minister has the power to over-turn decisions, reject advice and instruct her Departments to look at alternatives. It is possible that she may welcome a direct discussion with our community and find value in preserving the pier for future generations of Victorians.
Our second tactic is to continue building online awareness; and getting our message and petition on to as many Facebook pages as we can. A petition with a 1000 signatures is easily ignored. While a petition of 100,000 signatures begins to attract attention. We need to get our message to every single Victorian. This is an issue that is much bigger than Flinders.
The FCA may consider commissioning an independent report including heritage assessment. This depends on cost and will remain an option subject to our discussions with the Minister.
Thank you to all our members for your support and please stay with us as we take our early tentative steps. Please continue to promote our Save the Pier online petition and share it across other media platforms and amongst your friends and family wherever possible.
Save The Flinders Pier Campaign Begins
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.
Proposal For Part Demolition
On 21 July 2020, while Melbourne was in lockdown due to COVID, The Hon. Melissa Horne MP, Minister for Ports and Freight, issued a Media Release announcing details of the Victorian Government’s Better Piers and Waterside Facilities program.
The press release informed Victorians that the Department planned to demolish the inner section of the so-called ‘old’ Flinders Pier.
This announcement occurred without any consultation with the people of Flinders and is opposed by the Mornington Peninsula Shire.
The announcement concerning the Flinders Pier was not widely reported in the media at the time, and most people only became aware of the plans when details were reported in Mornington Peninsula News in March 2021.
The FCA strongly opposes the demolition of any section of the Heritage-listed Flinders Pier which dates back to 1864. The pier is the last all-timber pier in Western Port Bay, and one of the last of its size in Victoria. The pier is an important community asset, benefiting generations of Victorians from all parts of Melbourne and beyond. The timber pier is also home to the endangered weedy sea dragon, attracting divers and researchers from all over the world.
The FCA encourages Parks Victoria, the agency responsible for the pier’s maintenance over many years, to invest in the Pier’s preservation and make it safe for the continued enjoyment of all Victorians.
The FCA has begun mobilising local community groups and stakeholders in an effort to influence the Government to re-consider its decision.
If you can help or support us, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.