THE City of Wanneroo has shelved plans for a temporary beach access track in Two Rocks but will still demolish the Sovereign Drive staircase.
The council agreed to demolish the stairs at last Tuesday’s meeting, and to not proceed with the proposed path farther north due to residents’ opposition.
The decision leaves residents with no formal access to the beach north of Two Rocks Marina this summer, although the City’s assets director Harminder Singh said a long-term solution could be fast-tracked following a feasibility study.
At the October 11 meeting, Mr Singh said the study was likely to take six to eight weeks to complete.
In a deputation before the meeting, Two Rocks Beach Access Group member Ali Moore said residents were pleased the council would provide a long-term access structure next year.
“It does need to be along Sovereign Drive, north of the marina, preferably in its current position,” she said.
“We are not happy that the council at this stage will not be providing a suitable temporary access.
“Once the staircase is removed there is absolutely no reason why some inexpensive ground works with some temporary infrastructure like rubber or timber matting cannot be put in place for access just this summer.
“This would not do any damage to the current position or interfere with anything planned for the long term.”
Carmine Travaglione also spoke during the deputation, and said he believed the existing structure could be repaired and people were still pushing aside the fences to use the stairs.
The group has sent design drawings for a rotunda that it thinks would be suitable, with a platform leading out to a covered lookout with a central pillar support, and stairs that would lead down to the beach parallel to the dunes.
Councillors unanimously voted to remove the existing Sovereign Drive stairs and to immediately engage an engineering consultant to do a feasibility study for a long-term access solution.
“From all the advice, it is just not salvageable,” councillor Dianne Guise said about the staircase demolition.
Cr Guise said residents at last month’s community meeting had opposed the alternative path, saying no one would use it because of its length, location and safety issues.
With no other formal access to that section, there are concerns people will use informal tracks over the dunes once the stairs are removed.
“Some locals will vote with their feet and crash through to the beach; that’s going to be unfortunate because it will cause a lot of damage to the beach,” she said.
Mayor Tracey Roberts said she and chief executive Daniel Simms would meet with the Transport Minister Bill Marmion later this month to ask the State Government to address ongoing erosion issues at the beach.
“Council will be seeking significant state government financial support for these works because the severe and ongoing coastal erosion in the area is a direct result of construction of the Two Rocks Marina,” she said.
“The City is seeking early implementation of the long term measures recommended in the Two Rocks Coastal Coastal Management Study (from) March 2015.
“That might include some re-design of the Two Rocks Marina, such as extending the northern seawall to reduce beach erosion farther north.
“I will be conveying the City’s significant concerns at the current lack of commitment by the government to addressing coastal erosion at Two Rocks.”
The timeframe in the October 11 report called for outcomes of the feasibility study to be presented to the council in early 2017, with a suitable access to be built by the 2017-18 summer.
It is expected to cost between $250,000 and $400,000.