“TO PROCEED with a notice to remove the tower this close to the start of summer beach patrols is one of the most ludicrous things I have ever heard.”
That’s the view of Bass MP Brian Paynter, who in the absence of any effort to mediate the impasse over the Inverloch Surf Lifesaving Club’s patrol tower, has come in strongly behind the club and its big membership.
“It’s not in any danger of falling over. The club has an engineering report which says as much and the council would do a lot better if it worked with them and tried to come up with a solution.
“I understand that in one of its reports, the council says the tower is unsafe, that there’s a danger people will swim into the exposed pylons.
“That’s ridiculous. If that was the case you wouldn’t have any jetties or structures on the beach for fear people would swim into them.
“It’s not going to happen.
“Really, it’s local government gone mad and if this is the calibre of the decision making, it doesn’t fill you with a lot of confidence.
“I don’t understand why the council doesn’t offer to help them save the tower. There’s serious doubts that if this one was taken away, they’d never be able to put another one in the area.
“Why aren’t they saying ‘what can we do to help?’ Telling them they can take it to VCAT isn’t a solution. People shouldn’t have to go to VCAT every time they have a dispute with the council.”
Mr Paynter said it simply wasn’t reasonable to tell the club to remove the tower this close to its busiest time of the year.
“There’s a workable solution here, including bolstering the foundations of the tower, at least until we get through the summer, and then when the pressure is off, have a good look at it.”
Mr Paynter said he supported the surf club’s view that the beach was safer with the patrol tower there and he urged the council to work with the Inverloch Surf Lifesaving Club, not against them, to find a solution.
Meanwhile, works to reinstate pedestrian and vehicle access from the surf club (Goroke Street) entrance to the surf beach will begin later this month and be completed in time for the busy summer period.
The track has been closed for almost four months due to damage caused by ongoing coastal erosion; a natural occurrence this area of beach has been subject to for several years.
Bass Coast Shire Council has previously undertaken minor maintenance works to fix damage to the track; however, damage caused by significant storm surges and high tides since July this year means the track now requires significant construction work.
The council’s general manager Infrastructure, Felicity Sist, said the section of beach near the surf lifesaving club is one of the most visited in the Bass Coast area.
“It is also a location that requires vehicle access in order to provide lifesaving services and to allow access for other marine emergency services, such as search and rescue,” Ms Sist said.
“With the nearest alternative vehicle beach access currently located more than 3km away, it is critical that this Goroke Street track is reinstated quickly in the interests of community safety.”
Since the track was closed in July, the council has obtained State Government funding, undertaken survey works and design, and gained the necessary approvals required to commence construction prior to the busy holiday season.
The new track has been designed to follow the natural dune and minimise the impact to natural erosion and vegetation loss.
The council has worked in close partnership with the Inverloch Surf Life Saving Club, as well as other emergency service providers and key organisations in the development of construction plans.
The works are being partially funded by the State Government’s 2016/17 Coastal Environments Program with $40,000, and $17,000 from the council.
Works will begin on November 14 and take up to two weeks, weather pending.
For further information about the works, contact the council’s Sustainable Environment Department on 1300 BCOAST (226 278) or 5671 2211.
MP to patrol tower rescue