ACCESS to a popular Portland beach will remain closed indefinitely, prompting concerns for the city’s reputation in the busy summer tourism season and first arrivals of cruise ships next year.
Repair work is unlikely to be undertaken until government funding is available.
Nuns Beach has been closed since last month because of landslips and rock falls along the foreshore cliff face, triggered by heavy rainfall.
Areas around Whalers Point and an earlier landslip near the beach barbecue have also been closed.
Glenelg Shire Council and the Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) this week announced that access steps at the beach and Anderson Point would remain off-limits because of public safety risks.
Shire mayor Karen Stephens told The Standard a geotechnical assessment was continuing to determine what remedial works were required. “Once the nature of the necessary remedial works is established, council can then seek the appropriate funding,” she said.
“This is obviously an area that enjoys high levels of usage and tourism, particularly as we near the summer months, and council is working closely with DEPI to resolve the problem as soon as possible.”
However, nearby resident and accommodation operator Ken Baker is worried the repairs may come too late for the busy tourism season.
He has written to Premier and South West Coast MP Denis Napthine and the shire calling for urgent repair works and suggested a concrete footpath to keep people away from the unstable cliff base.
“It’s part of the popular harbour loop walk and important for our city,” Mr Baker told The Standard.
“I understand the area must be safe, but to just fence it off and leave it closed is not good enough.
“If Portland is to move forward as a major tourism attractor this needs to be rectified as soon as possible.”
Dr Napthine has forwarded the issue to Environment Minister Ryan Smith highlighting Mr Baker’s concerns about the forthcoming tourism influx which will include international cruise ships scheduled to dock from April.
Mr Baker said Dr Napthine had been assisted with organising repair works to an earlier major foreshore landslip near Clifton Street.
“Denis implied he was quite interested in getting a solution soon to the Nuns Beach erosion,” Mr Baker said.