MidCoast Council has threatened to close the Gleeson Avenue Beach access track indefinitely, citing ongoing vandalism to the track and the adjacent vegetation.
A sign warning of the track’s potential closure was erected following the approval of a plan to manage the track at North One Mile Beach, in accordance with the Great Lakes coastal zone management plan.
The plan’s approval was greeted with frustration from a group of residents who were unhappy about the lack of community consultation. They have continued to voice their disagreement as work has begun.
“When aggression from our public servants reaches fever pitch, it is a sign that council has peaked in its disconnect from community,” community spokesperson, David Rankin said of the warning sign.
“No community meetings, no planning discussion, no resident connection, just warning signs of aggression.”
A spokesperson from MidCoast Council said the warning was erected after the fence at the access track had to be replaced after being vandalised some months ago.
“The Gleeson Avenue track is one of 11 formal accesses to One Mile Beach maintained by MidCoast Council, and one of four at the northern end of the beach,” the spokesperson said.
“It has been widened over time by use, and a decision was made to re-install fencing to minimise the pedestrian impact on the dune, which is the subject of ongoing regeneration work.
“The path was formalised in July, following a resolution of council to provide a clear area for pedestrians, consistent with other access tracks at One Mile Beach, and provide protection to the dune in accordance with the Coastal Dune Management Manual and the Great Lakes Coastal Zone Management Plan.
“Unfortunately the works were vandalised during the first three days after completion. This resulted in the removal of 26 posts and the cutting of the balustrade wire in numerous areas, rendering it useless.
“The signs have been placed on the fence to provide advice to the community that further vandalism will result in the closure of the track, as the cost of continual replacement of the fencing to protect the dune area will become prohibitive.
“MidCoast Council manages 74 beach accesses across the region, with this particular access the only one that is continually vandalised.”
But, according to David Rankin, there are a number of residents in the area who feel the adjustments to the track are unnecessary.
“It has upset a lot of people in the community,” David said.
“Council say they manage 70 plus other beach accesses but it’s like comparing apples and oranges, none of the others are anything like this one.”