Once upon a time, there was a scenic little jetty beside a boat ramp on a picturesque and peaceful South Australian bay.
Children played on the little sandy beach beside the little wooden jetty. Pelicans sat on their favourite rocks, seven to thirteen of them, preening and snoozing and waiting for fishermen to cast away bait fish or fishtails. Elderly couples sat on the shore watching the birds and the sea, the islands, the sky, the timeless and serene view.
Even by night, the little jetty was a joy-bringing beauty - particularly in summer when the sea lay dead calm and the stars twinkled not only from above but from the water's inky mirror around the little jetty.
When a Council has something this exquisite within its bailiwick, there is really onlyone thing it can do.
Who wants picture postcards in a resort town on the sea?
What we want is industrial views.
Little hobby fishing boats are not revenue for a Council. They may be pretty and pleasurable, but they don't compete with big boats.
So what we really need is a really big boat ramp for really big boats.
And we need facilities for those big boats. Carparks and parking meters and lighting.
And so it has come to pass that the City of Victor Harbor in South Australia has descided to destroy the prettiest picture in its album.
At the same time that it has erected signs warning people of the delicate ecology of the ancient reef in Encounter Bay, it has vandalised the bay in the name of - well, I am not sure what.
As the moves develop to respect the fragile nature of the intertidal marine ecology, and the fears about over-fishing lead to increased moves for marine parks, this Council has invested many hundreds of thousands of dollars, maybe a million, into providing access to huge, polluting motor boats.
Here in the bay where the mother whales bring their young in the winter.
Where, most mornings, I can see a seal rolling and playing and fishing along the reef line...this reef, described as a "nursery" for fish.
What the bay needs is diesel slick and bigger boats.
Well, it is what it will get.
And what it needs is less beach and more cars.
To that end, they have just bulldozed earth onto the beach - pushing the carpark out to sea.
Who owns the beach? I thought beach was common land and no one in this country had a right to destroy it, let alone impede people's access along it. The law has changed? I was wrong? It is Council land which may be infilled and used for other purposes at whim?
The pelicans which have been such a joy to all (and the subject of my photo website) and who have long lived on the round rocks of the shallows, have gone. Of course.
So have quite a few of the rocks themselves.
The excavations just get deeper and deeper and the boat ramp is looking as if it has been designed to accommodate oil tankers. Huge groins encircle a vast cavity whence towering black metal piers reach for the sky. These may be anchors for the industrial metal pontoons which the Council, with its high sense of aesthetic, has chosen to replace the wooden jetty.
We shall wait and see how it all looks when finished.
Perhaps we shall have to look to the art of Jeff Smart to see beauty in the industrial impact on this once-pretty bay.
Perhaps, however, we shall just have to avert our gaze and ponder sadly why any Council should wish to be remembered for such travesty.
Then again, people have short memories.
Perhaps, in a few years, only the pelicans will miss the old jetty.