Docklands’ Central Pier to remain closed due to safety fears

The 100-year-old Central Pier in Docklands has been closed forever because of safety concerns.

Development Victoria said an investigation and assessment revealed the rate of deterioration to the piles that support the pier was accelerating due to rot, marine borer and termite attacks.

That was despite previous repair work on the pier.

“Due to the complexity and age of the structure of the pier, repairs required to bring the pier back into service would be extensive. Even if we were to invest significant funds and time in repairs, our engineers advise the issues will continue to resurface without ongoing specialist maintenance work. This investment would still not guarantee that the pier can be made safe for public access in the medium to long term due to its ongoing deterioration,” chief executive of Development Victoria, Angela Skandarajah said.

Tenants on the pier have been told, but the Herald Sun understands there was no time for the affected businesses to tell staff before the DV announcement.

The Herald Sun revealed in November checks were carried out every two months in the 12 months to August this year by KBR failed to detect that almost a third of the piles under Shed 14 had some form of defects.

It’s believed about 28 per cent of the piles had some form of defects – and tenants questioned how they could have been missed.

“We appreciate that this is not the news businesses and staff hoping to return to Central Pier want to hear. It has been a difficult decision and we regret that the pier must remain closed. “But we cannot support a lengthy and expensive repair program that cannot guarantee the pier’s safety for public use,” she said.

DV was committed to ensuring a future for Central Pier, and would work with Heritage Victoria, the community and a range of other stakeholders to identify opportunities to rebuild the pier so it could be safely used, she said.

A spokesman for the tenants of Central Pier said they were in “disbelief”.

“The safety of our 1300 staff members and customers has always been our number one priority and it is clear now that tens of thousands of people have been put at serious risk over a long period of time due to Development Victoria and its failure to maintain Central Pier.”

The timing of the announcement – when Victoria was in the grip of a bushfire crisis – was “ extremely disappointed”.

“We asked that the announcement be held off until the fire threat subsides and to allow us time to inform our workers and clients, but Development Victoria refused. Despite this, we will not be holding any press conferences until after the fire threat has subsided.”

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