Beach access worth waiting for: McDonald
NEW $120,000 beach access stairs at Rainbow Beach are a step forward in more ways than one, according to Cooloola Coast councillor Mark McDonald.
Built from a relatively new super-strong, super-light and extremely durable fibre-plastic composite material, the 1.7m wide stairs are expected to last better than timber while also being lighter than concrete.
The stairs replace access via a timber boardwalk, which led to aluminium stairs that descended to the beach south of Mudlo Rocks.
The council took them away more than six years ago after their footings were eroded by large seas.
About the same time the council also removed stairs which accessed the beach on the north side of the rocks.
In their absence pedestrian access has been unofficial in the extreme, as beach-goers jumped the boardwalk fence and made their way down the front of the dune, causing complaints of erosion from foot traffic.
The alternative though was to walk back into town and access the beach near the surf club.
But Cr McDonald says the new steps may just be worth the wait.
"They're wider and with landing areas where people can stop and look at the scenery, without impeding people wanting to move up or down the stairs.
"Some people might think it is just a set of stairs, but it is more than that.
"One important benefit is they will give easy pedestrian access to some of the best beach fishing spots, offshore and south from Mudlo Rocks.
"It's a great day for visitors and people who don't have four-wheel drives," he said.
Mayor Mick Curran was equally enthusiastic, especially about the composite material which some say could be the start of some big changes in engineering.
"It could ultimately be used for bridges and other structures," he said. "It's half the weight of concrete and more durable than timber and lower cost."