The decision on the future of the historic Titan crane on Sydney’s Garden Island has been made – demolish.
The parliamentary secretary for defence, David Feeney, announced yesterday that the disused crane would be removed from the naval base, and allocated $10.3 million to cover the cost of demolition and removal.
"Removing this crane will eliminate the safety risk it currently poses to Royal Australian Navy personnel, it will allow navy to use Garden Island to its best possible advantage, and will save taxpayers around $700,000 a year, It’s the right decision," said Feeney.
The Department of Defence argued in May that there were "no prudent or feasible alternatives" to removing the 61 metre high structure in order to free up berthing capacity for new ships due to enter service this year.
Mothballing the crane at its current location on-site would have cost $21 million, restoring it to full working order would cost $31.1 million, while removing it is estimated at $7.5 million. Retaining the crane on-site and building a new dock east of Garden Island was estimated at $123.7 million.
The permit to remove the crane specifies that ‘heritage components’ be salvaged from the crane on of only 14 units remaining. An archival record will be made of the crane, and its history will be documented in a heritage interpretation plan.
Graham Quint, NSW conservation manager at The National Trust of Australia said: “We are extremely disappointed but not surprised by this decision. They have just ruled it out of order all along the way. Every time we've tried to suggest something to them, they just won't look at it."