Three landslips in 13 years
The Path was closed for three years after a landslip in November 2013. Shire maintenance on the path was suspended for this period. Despite the closure, the traffic on the path increased because of greater demand and word of mouth popularity. Two public meetings attracted large numbers and the Shire announced a repair plan. After a complex engineering feat, the path was reopened by Mayor Bev Colomb, who had been a stalwart supporter of the path campaigners. The engineering company Entracon Civil made a great video of their repair works.
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How could drainage cause so much damage? Essentially the Shire was slow to change its planning requirements about drainage while the size of houses on the cliff was increasing dramatically with large increases in impermeable areas of drives, pools, roofs, and patios. In this case, the damage came from a legal drain from houses on the cliff that discharged water at the wrong spot for years. The Shire was warned about the erosion, but it wasn’t on their radar. A stitch in time would have saved nine, or more to the point saved the State Government and the Shire a quarter of a million dollars in repairs.
Planning requirements for storm water since been tightened, and new houses are required to pump their surplus water up to the road. Also most house owners on the cliff are now much more aware about water management.
The Friends of the Beleura Cliff Path monitor drainage issues on the cliff, and are determined that the path will never be closed again – and determined that Shire resources need never be eaten up by such avoidable incidents.
In 2015, the shire appointed a new engineer, Chris Lyne, to project-manage the cliff path and its storm-water. Chris is a highly experienced, skillful engineer, who knows the area well and tramps up and down the cliff to check out problems. He is currently working with the Friends of the Cliff Path to establish a system of regular checks on drainage. However, he has big responsibilities across the Shire and limited resources.
Water pouring out of a non-conforming storm-water drain undermined the path and caused this partial slip in November 2013
Path railings losing the battle against the undermining
Tell-tale cracks in the path in 2010 heralded an expensive landslip. All caused by over-irrigation and poor storm-water management.