One of a kind relocatable beach access installed today
  • Thursday 03 December 2009

Council installed a set of relocatable beach stairs at Mooloolaba today in an Australian-first trial to combat steep drop offs caused by beach erosion.

The steps are the first of their kind in Australia and if the Mooloolaba trial proves successful, council will roll these out across the Coast.

Cr Chris Thompson said that council contacted a local company to design a set of stairs that could be moved to a more suitable location when severe beach erosion occurred.

“The timber structures council currently uses are static,” Cr Thompson said.

“If beach erosion occurs, people have to negotiate a steep drop to get to the beach.

“These new steps are relocatable. If the beach erodes, causing a drop off, we will move them to an area that allows safe access onto the beach.

“At present our only option to maintain safety is to close the beach access point, so hopefully this new technology will provide a better solution.”

Coastal Engineer Denis Shaw said that he contacted a local company, explained the problem and asked them to come up with a bespoke design.

“The stairs are made from marine grade aluminium, which does not get hot under foot, is fire resistant and incorporates a poly-cork pad to give a softer feel,” Mr Shaw said.

“The foundation poles are up to six metres long and are driven into coffee rock and bolted together. If the stairs need to be moved, the poles are removed and driven down somewhere else.

“The stairs are almost free from maintenance, and more durable in a harsh beach and salt air environment than timber, so in the long term, this will be a cost saving to council.

“From what I’ve seen, the stairs provide the ideal solution to the fluidity of the beach environment.

“The timber stairs used currently have no room for manoeuvre and that has always been the problem.

“We can’t control the beaches, but maybe with this new technology we can control the access,” Mr Shaw said.