Aussie mayor faces death threats days after locals protest council over neglected jetty

It is not known who made the threats and if the same person is behind them all.

The closure of a small coastal town's jetty has reached boiling point with the local mayor receiving multiple death threats only days after peaceful protests.

Last weekend locals in Tumby Bay, South Australia climbed over restrictive barricades and jumped off the 350-metre jetty, described as the "lifeblood" of the town, to protest its closure for over 17 months.

Left, Tumby Bay Mayor Geoff Churchett smiles to the camera. Right, two locals walk past restrictive barriers stopping people just using the jetty. Signs on the barriers read, 'Fix our jetty'.
Tumby Bay Mayor Geoff Churchett has received death threats over the closure of the town's jetty. Source: Tumby Bay council and TikTok

The event sparked national media coverage due to the demonstration of mass community spirit. Now, Mayor Geoff Churchett has told Yahoo News on Monday he has received deaths threats since no further updates about the jetty have been announced.

"The calls were made to the Tumby Bay council office on two separate occasions," Churchett said. "He made threats and said that I was too busy with my local business, and he should bump me off and bury me in a hole."

Mayor 'fully supports' protest but admits death threats are daunting

It is unknown if the same person is behind the multiple threats and why they chose to escalate the issue to such extremes, however, police have been notified of the incidents.

"I'd like to think that the locals are better than that, but obviously it's come from someone within the district," Churchett said. "It's obviously frustrating... hopefully it isn't serious and it's just someone trying to put more pressure on the council to get something done."

Lines of people talk on Tumby Bay jetty waiting their turn to jump off into the water, with one mid somersault.
Tumby Bay locals jumped off the jetty last weekend to protest its closure. Source: Facebook

He said he "fully supports what the people were trying to achieve" with the jetty protest last weekend but the change in tone was "hard" and something playing "in the back of my mind".

With the jetty repairs estimated to cost up to $20 million — vastly exceeding the District Council of Tumby Bay's budget of $5 million per year — a council meeting is scheduled next Tuesday for representatives to brainstorm how they can find a solution.

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