Kerferd Road Pier with few peers left still closed for summer

Kerferd Road pier partial closure, Albert Park, Melbourne. January 3rd 2018. Photo: Daniel Pockett
Kerferd Road pier partial closure, Albert Park, Melbourne. January 3rd 2018. Photo: Daniel Pockett

At the height of summer the almost 130-year-old Kerferd Road Pier should be teeming with people promenading along its boardwalk, fishing off it, and even (illegally) leaping from it into Port Phillip Bay.

But the historic pier that juts from the foreshore at Albert Park is a mostly no-go site two months after it was partially closed following Parks Victoria investigations that found the middle section of the pier to be structurally unsound and "unsafe for ongoing use".

Parks Victoria district manager Graeme Davis said the first 65-metre long section of the pier is safe, accessible and open to the public, despite two-thirds of the pier being closed since November 1.

"Parks Victoria is currently investigating timeframes required to repair the structure," Mr Davis said.

Constructed in 1889, the pier is of historical and architectural significance to the Albert Park area. Hailed as a "rare example of a pier built predominantly for recreational purposes," the pier is also one of the few substantially intact 19th-century piers in Port Phillip Bay.

Repairs on the pier have taken place over the decades due to constant degradation from salt water, but it is still mostly original with some timber planks replaced and a steel mesh platform added to the western side.

Local cafe manager Jenny Nham does not believe that Kerferd Road Pier's partial closure has affected her business, but would like to see it reopened soon.

"Even with the partial closure you see people walk down and be disappointed," she said, adding that the pier was usually popular among tourists, fishermen, and kids who liked to jump off it into the sea.

Ms Nham wants Parks Victoria to patrol the site to stop young people from scaling the fence to reach the end of the pier.

"It seems dangerous," she said.

While Parks Victoria has stated it plans to rebuild the pier in a similar style, a spokeswoman said that it would not be demolished.

In 2015, Brooks Jetty in St Kilda was controversially demolished after being listed for repair, angering locals.

This story Kerferd Road Pier with few peers left still closed for summer first appeared on The Age.