‘Evicted’: House boat owners told to move on

Houseboat owners mooring at Nairns Jetties have been told to pack up and find somewhere else to park their vessels.

The owners, who have docked at the site on the Serpentine River in Coodanup for years, claim it’s unfair that they’re being “evicted” after allegedly helping maintain the facilities.

Graham Corp and Paul Nash said they are trying to urge the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation not to knock down the structure. 

However the department’s Peel estuaries and waterways manager Bob Pond said the owners weren’t being “evicted” as they weren’t authorised to park there in the first place and the structures were too unsafe to keep. 

The moorings and jetty structures were built in 1983 by the Peel Inlet Management Authority to house a fleet of weed harvesters and barges that were used to clear excessive algal growth before and after the opening of the Dawesville Channel.

Due to construction powers held by the Authority under the Waterways Conservation Act 1976 the structures were never licensed with the Department of Transport. 

The last of the weed harvesting operations ceased in 2008, and are not anticipated to be resumed.

“They are not being evicted as use of the jetties and mooring by boat owners has never been authorised by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation,” Mr Pond said. 

“It’s the department’s intention to remove the mooring and jetty infrastructure, and undertake foreshore rehabilitation works.

“The structures are unsafe and do not meet current Australian Standards and are not licensed for use by the Department of Transport.

“The owners of vessels are using the facility without authorisation and have been asked to relocate their vessels to allow the department to access its jetties to undertake works.

“The mooring poles are approaching the end of their design lifespan, and the ancillary jetty and foreshore structures have fallen into a state of disrepair, posing an unacceptable public safety hazard and liability for the department.”

Mr Corp and Mr Nash said for years they didn’t know who owned the land.

They said they were willing to pay a fee to park at the moorings and happy to continue their work to reestablish the river bank that had degraded over the years. 

Mr Corp said the duo have made an offer to the department to purchase the moorings, however he said they had declined that bid.