Time against historic landmark

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Lechelle Earl, owner/editor

Time against historic landmark

Community leaders at Robe have conceded the historic Cape Dombey obelisk is beyond saving.

Mayor Lisa Ruffell and council chief executive Nat Traeger have made this concession in a written submission to a parliamentary inquiry into the 

sustainability of local government.

“Robe’s most popular tourist icon the Obelisk is famous as a historic landmark and infamous for its inevitable demise into the ocean,” stated the two leaders.

“It is simply not feasible for a small council such as Robe District Council to investigate adaptation options to protect this landmark from coastal erosion, leaving the community no choice but to accept it will no longer be present at some time in the future.”

The council stance on the obelisk has been also stated in a media release and this prompted a backlash from sections of the Robe community.

As a result, Mayor Ruffell has called a public meeting to allow the community members a final opportunity to influence council policy on the fate of the obelisk.

The public meeting will be held at 7pm on July 11 at the Robe Institute,

Around eight years ago, elected members and senior council staff looked at suitable sites for a full-size replica of the Robe Obelisk to be erected when the current stone structure collapses.

A staff report stated a Robe firm had the capability to construct a concrete replica with the distinctive red and white bands.

However, no further action was taken.

The Robe Obelisk was erected over 160 years ago as a guide to seafarers but extensive cliff-top erosion means it is at risk of falling into Guichen Bay.

Its colours and logo have been adopted by the local council, sporting clubs and school.

Robe Council has commissioned various engineering and technical reports over the years which have pointed out that any attempt to re-paint and repair it would be too dangerous.

Measures to stop the cliff-top erosion are not considered feasible.

Immediate public access to the stone structure was stopped many years ago and there is a 150m walk from a public car park.

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