Tumby council take on mangrove boardwalk project

The mangrove boardwalk in Tumby Bay will be completely replaced after the district council was successful in obtaining more than $100,000 in grant funds for the project.

GRANT: Kerryn Hibbit (Tumby Bay Progress Association), councillor Stephen Hibbit and council chief executive officer Trevor Smith are looking forward to the new environmentally friendly, wheelchair accessible boardwalk.

GRANT: Kerryn Hibbit (Tumby Bay Progress Association), councillor Stephen Hibbit and council chief executive officer Trevor Smith are looking forward to the new environmentally friendly, wheelchair accessible boardwalk.

The existing boardwalk was built about 25 years ago, and was deemed by engineers last year to be at a real risk of collapse, prompting the council to close the boardwalk to the public by removing a section.

Tumby Bay District Council chief executive officer Trevor Smith said the local progress association initially applied for a similar grant.

"Early in 2020 Tumby Bay Progress Association applied for a grant on behalf of council to a community development fund from which local governments were excluded," he said.

"This grant was unsuccessful however the application formed the basis for the current application to DPTI's (Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure) Open Space grant funds."

The open space grant is $100,000, which council will match for the project, but they also obtained a grant from Eyre Peninsula Natural Resources Management for $10,000.

Mr Smith said they hoped to use a recycled 'wood plastic' for the boardwalk, so it wa termite resistant, non-toxic, and would not rust.

"Being water resistant, flexible and durable this product is excellent for a structure that is standing in water and for the local climate," he said.

The new structure will also be wheelchair accessible.

Tumby Bay mayor Sam Telfer said the council had been working on the project since before the forced closure of the boardwalk, so the new funding announcement was "exciting".

"It is a significant project which will cater for both locals and tourists alike, giving them an opportunity to experience a unique perspective on a diverse ecological area," he said.

"It will require a significant council budget allocation, but the best way to deliver such a project is with partnership funding across different sources."

The project was included in council's Long Term Financial Plan adopted last year, and in it's draft budget for 2020/21.

Council aim to begin construction within three months to be ready for the next tourist season.