Kingston District Council takes big steps to improve beach access

BEACH ACCESS: Kingston District Council has recently released a 'boat-ramp-on-a-roll' to work on improving launching and general beach access in Kingston.
BEACH ACCESS: Kingston District Council has recently released a 'boat-ramp-on-a-roll' to work on improving launching and general beach access in Kingston.

Kingston District Council has recently installed a 'boat-ramp-on-a-roll,' working to improve launching and general beach access in Kingston.

Council has become the first in Australia to use the product for non-military deployment purposes.

Faun Trackway Limited design and manufacture a range of high-quality portable access systems for use in military and civilian disaster and emergency relief operations at its internationally accredited production facilities in the UK - the product is distributed in Australia by Forward Defence.

Project Manager Rohan James outlined why council has decided to use the boat-ramp-in-a-roll, explaining how it will look to provide a safe entry for those wanting to use the beach.

"The beach starts here is the Kingston Council's marketing motto, and they actually mean it, with the use of a unique portable boat-ramp-in-a-roll they have opened the access to the beach for easy safe entry of all vehicle types without the hazards of driving through a sand- pit," Mr James said.

SAFE ENTRY: Kingston Mayor Kay Rasheed believes council's new instalment will enable more young families to visit the beach who may have not be able to before.

SAFE ENTRY: Kingston Mayor Kay Rasheed believes council's new instalment will enable more young families to visit the beach who may have not be able to before.

Kingston Mayor Kay Rasheed explained how council is hoping that this will encourage more families to head for the beach and enjoy one of Kingston's main, natural attractions, outlining what process council followed before making the decision.

"Crucial to making this bold decision, was the assessment of various temporary boat ramp options by our Maria Creek Community Focus Group, in conjunction with advice from coastal engineers Wavelength," Mayor Rasheed said.

"Our research concluded that Faun Trackway was the preferred option, being robust and tested heavy duty aluminium, suitable for coastal environments and doesn't interfere with the natural coastal processes."

Weather and rough seas delayed the delivery beyond the anticipated pre- Christmas installation date, however, the trackway was successfully installed this week.

Chief Executive Officer Nat Traeger mentioned that she believes from an operational perspective, the roll-out has been a success.

"There is always trepidation when you dip your toe in the water and try something different, and we seem to be doing that an awful lot at the moment" Ms Traeger said.

"We also know that a lot of other coastal councils are watching us with interest, to see how this literally unfolds, and we are delighted to confirm that the old adage of fortune favours the brave absolutely stands up with this project".

The organisation said it has viewed this recent installation as a way of "value-adding" to its vision of continuing to develop the town and surrounding district into a "thriving" destination, with the all-access solution being described by council as more than simply just a temporary boat ramp.

Council has emphasised that the most satisfying outcome from the organisation's perspective has been that the team at council has now enabled its popular beaches to become more accessible to conventional vehicles, with 4WD not being required to use the trackway.

Mayor Rasheed explained how families who would not have had the convenience of accessing the beaches by car in the past will have the chance to access the beach with ease and safety now, adding what problems council has faced in relation to beach access prior to the installation.

"The problem has always been actually getting on and off the beach; once you are on the hard-compacted sand, our beaches are traversable by all vehicles," she said.

Council has purchased 30 metres of the trackway, affixing it to the existing concrete boat ramp at the Johnston Street beach access point.

Council's Manager Assets and Infrastructure Dave Worthley said he is "happy" with the outcome.

"The installation was simple and minimal maintenance will be required to maintain the trackway in its current condition," Mr Worthley said.

"We anticipate the trackway will remain in place until Easter, or until weather conditions are unfavourable -the trackway is relatively flexible and can be quickly retrieved if an unexpected weather event is forecast."