Authorities are on the hunt for thieves who took jarrah planks from Surfers Point overnight on January 30.
“The timber had been removed from four tiers of stairs and was stacked ready to be transported off-site in the morning, ” Surfers Point project manager Wayne Prangnell said.
“Timber had been apparently chained-sawed from another half a tier of staircase.”
Mr Prangnell said the intent was to retain some of the original structure for heritage purposes, which might now be in jeopardy.
While witnesses were urged to call Margaret River Police on 9757 2222 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, the project manager also hoped the offenders might rethink their actions and the timber could be returned no questions asked.
“Surfers Point is rich in history and culture and in every step of the upgrade project we have taken care to preserve that, ” he said.
“It’s very disappointing that someone has helped themselves to this timber that has such sentimental value among the whole community.
“Those stairs have been climbed by everyone from excited groms surfing Mainbreak for the first time to world champion athletes. It’s very sad to lose that component of the design.”
Meanwhile, the changed nature of work planned for the multimillion dollar Surfers Point upgrade was likely to close the site to direct public access for up to 12 weeks.
The Rivermouth carpark will close from April 1, according Mr Prangnell.
Following that, work would start at Surfers Point for 12 weeks, with beach users asked to use the Rivermouth for parking.
The changes were due to cost reductions after tenders for work at Surfers Point came back higher than expected.
“We are reducing the scope of the works and simplifying the staging of the project, ” Mr Prangnell said.
“This means there will be additional impacts on the public as the site will be fully closed off for a period during construction.
“We had previously intended to keep the site partially open throughout works, but this resulted in considerable traffic management costs. Eliminating these costs will result in a better spend of the funding and will achieve a better project result.”