MORNINGTON residents who fear the popular Beleura cliff path may never open again are urging the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council to intensify its pressure on the state government for money to repair the path.
Friends of Beleura Cliff Path spokesperson Peter Nicholson said the $1.5 million needed to restore the cliff path after landslips means there was a “50/50” chance it will never be done without government help.
“The shire needs to do a lot more than it is doing now if the path is to be re-opened. And to strengthen their backbone, we need to lobby them strongly, efficiently and constructively,” he said.
“A year has passed, and the shire has done little to sort out and tackle the causes of the slips, which is all to do with drainage.
“Instead, the shire has commissioned a geo-tech report to study the geo-tech condition of the cliff, not the drainage, legal or management issues.”
That report is expected to be released around 30 November.
The mayor Cr Steve Holland said landslips had badly damaged large sections of the path, and it was not safe to use in its current state.
He said the state government had not indicated if it intended to repair the path, which sits on a mix of private property and Crown land belonging to the state.
The council had commissioned a risk assessment to explore options the state government could consider to safely reopen the path. Any works would depend on state finance.
“We are not able to disclose conversations or actions taken with private property owners regarding drainage,” Holland said.
Nicholson said the friends group wanted the council to understand the depth of feeling in the community towards the path and would keep pressuring the council to repair it.
“This is the community’s path, it is an important community asset that has a 100-plus year history,” he said.
“We think it’s necessary to impress on the shire how much the people of the peninsula value the path.”
Part of the cliff path was closed since late last year after safety concerns were raised by shire engineers. Subsequent landslips have since caused it to be closed.
To learn more about the Beleura Cliff path go to facebook.com/groups/beleuracliffpath
Picks, shovels mark path’s 101 years
THE path cost 80 pounds to build, which was paid by locals and the foreshore committee.
The path was built for public use, although it weaves in and out of private land. It was supported by the land owners.
Nicholson says that if the path was built today it would cost $30million, with the land alone worth $15m.
“It was at first a dirt track, often called the Goat Track. Local teenagers rode their ponies down it,” Nicholson said.
“In the 1950s it was bitumenised. One hundred and one years is a long time, and the path has proved itself to be sound.
“It has heritage value as well as being something of practical use to thousands of people.
“The path is still basically sound, and most of it is safer now than it was 10 years ago, with some new handrails and thick plantings of deep-rooted cliff plants along the shoulders done by the friends group.
“The damage [which led to its closure] was done by landslips in two places, caused by drainage and irrigation issues that could be fixed.”