Winston blamed for Inskip Point landslide

SOME community and business leaders on the Cooloola Coast insisted on Tuesday that a new near-shore landslide on Inskip Point was just erosion caused by Cyclone Winston, but Parks and Wildlife confirmed it was an event similar to the monster slide that swallowed vehicles and part of a camping ground on the Point six months ago.

This time, the near-shore landslide has occurred right on the tip of Inskip beside where the barges to Fraser Island land to take on and set down passengers and vehicles.

Reports of a new sink hole yesterday morning were initially scotched by coast councillor Mark McDonald following a local investigation of the scene, though local rangers confirmed the phenomena was indeed another landslide.

Photos of the site certainly show a significant erosion event.

Much of the sand from the beaches of the Cooloola Coast have been shifted around by the rough seas, high tides and big swells of the past week and Cr McDonald said yesterday the new "landslide" was merely a continuation of that slow but significant erosion.

About 2m of sand was stripped from Cooloola Coast beaches last week, leaving the Mudlo Rocks exposed and hazardous to drivers.

Rainbow Beach businessman Tony Stewart said erosion over the past week had stripped most of the sand away from the tip of Inskip, with only 50m of sand left between the tree line and where the barges pull up.

"I've never seen it look like that," Mr Stewart said.

"The bar where the barge is parked has really changed a lot over the last week. The Point changes all of the time."

Local Parks and Wildlife Service officers, however, told other media sources there had indeed been a small landslide at the tip of Inskip.

The rangers were monitoring the situation on Tuesday night.

"The activity started appearing at the surface of the sand at around 8am and ended at 10.15am," a QPWS statement said.

"No members of the public were in the vicinity.

"The erosion has not affected any campsites and is not affecting access to the barge to Fraser Island.

"In the interest of public safety, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service will continue to closely monitor the site.

"Traffic barriers and warning signs will be erected and members of the public are asked to observe all warnings in the area.

"It's likely that this was another occurrence of the natural phenomenon which occurred in September 2015, at Inskip. It is caused by the undermining of part of the shoreline by tidal flow, waves and currents.

"When this occurs below the waterline, the shoreline loses support and a section slides seaward leaving a hole, the edges of which retrogress back towards the shore.

"In technical terms such an event is better termed a 'near-shore landslide' than a 'sinkhole'."

With a massive influx of tourists and campers expected in just over three weeks for the Easter long weekend and school holidays, the fear and uncertainty associated with near-shore landslides (following the terrifying 150m wide sink hole that swallowed vehicles and part of the MV Beagle camping ground in September) could hurt local businesses and the Rainbow Beach economy.

The Tin Can Bay Coast Guard said the enlarged swell brought on by Cyclone Winston which has caused so much erosion on the Cooloola Coast was expected to last days yet. The bar conditions are still very rough, he said, and people are advised to stay home until the weather calms down instead of venturing out.

Gympie Times

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