FIFO camp closure delayed

Taylar AmoniniNorth West Telegraph
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The reasons behind the closure delay of worker accommodation Kurra Village have been revealed.

The move, originally pegged to be finalised last year, was delayed again in April by another six months and it is understood the latest delay could now last well into next year.

In a presentation to Shire of East Pilbara councillors last week, BHP representatives showed the extent of the issues at Kalgan’s Rest and Mt Whaleback which had caused at least a six-month delay in the closure of the controversial workers’ village.

Community relations officer Sue Mitchell said substantial non-compliant works which had not been discovered before the purchase of the two new accommodations contributed to the delay.

“There were substantial non-Australian compliance issues surrounding the electrical and plumbing at both the camps,” she said.

“We think we’ve got to the bottom of all the non-compliance now, though.”

According to Ms Mitchell, the works were more than electrical and plumbing issues, with termites, mould and significant undocumented services which had not been on plans provided to the mining giant.

Photographs presented to the Shire councillors showed the issues included blocked drains, missing foundations under floorboards and extensive sewage issues in both older infrastructure and recent upgrades by the previous village owners.

However, despite the significant issues discovered, the upgrades are planned to finish mid-2018, according to Ms Mitchell, followed by the closure and relocation process.

Whaleback Village has completed 90 per cent of structural remedies, while Kalgan’s Rest is slightly behind after non-compliant sewage works were discovered.

Once Kurra Village is vacated, it will return to its original use as a short-stay accommodation caravan park for visiting travellers in Newman.

Shire of East Pilbara president Lynne Craigie said the Shire had been working with BHP to make sure the closure went ahead. “We still don’t want to see a camp in our town but we are al-so trying to be mindful of the circumstances they face,” she said.

Fly-in, fly-out camps remain a hot topic in the Pilbara, with the Town of Port Hedland set to decide whether to extend the lease on BHP’s Port Haven worker accommodation and the Shire of Ashburton knocking back a three-year lease extension for Rio Tinto’s Tom Price camp, opting for a one-year extension instead

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