A SECTION of Mount Martha North beach has again been closed because of fears that the cliff could collapse.
According to Mornington Peninsula Shire erosion caused by high tides and rainfall has created “a significant safety risk”, forcing it to close the beach and access to 49 beach boxes.
“A recent assessment has found the cliff poses an unacceptable safety risk. This week’s intense rainfall is likely to have further increased the risk that the cliff may collapse,” an unattributed news release from the shire stated.
“As the committee of management for the beach, the shire has temporarily closed the section of beach nearest the unstable cliff until further notice.”
This latest closing of the beach comes one year after $1.5 million of taxpayers’ money was spent “renourishing” the beach with sand in time for summer (“Given time, the sands will run out” The News 22/11/21).
The Mount Martha North Beach Group Committee described the state government’s decision to use a $1.5 million federal government grant to replenish the beach as “a very poor use of public funds”.
Previously, fears have been expressed that the steady collapse of the cliff towards the sea will eventually threaten the stability of the Esplanade.
But for now, the beach boxes are cordoned off with signs warning of the dangers and the shire saying it will work with beach box owners to retrieve “any personal items they would like to take from their beach boxes [numbers 92 to 151] once the weather has improved”.
“Owners are asked not to use their beach box as it is not safe to do so. The area in front of the beach boxes will remain open for recreational use,” the shire stated, adding that it had commissioned an updated risk assessment of the beach “which should be ready by Christmas and will inform next steps”.
Cr Anthony Marsh, who was still mayor at the time the beach was closed, said “this must be very disappointing, especially for those beach box owners affected”.
“Erosion has been an ongoing issue at this beach for many years and the situation has worsened due to recent weather events.
The shire said the state government was ultimately responsible for the beach and it would “work closely with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) to explore options for the longer-term future of Mount Martha North beach”.