Southern suburbs locals have rallied behind a state-wide petition to stop the Hallett Cove boardwalk from closing permanently (Image Source: Rebecca Copeland)
Hallett Cove locals flocked to Heron Way Reserve on Saturday 18, to protect and advocate for a beloved feature of Adelaide’s southern coastline.
The 20-year-old Hallett Cove boardwalk extends 7.2 kilometres along the rocky clifftops between Marino and Hallett Cove, providing a unique walking experience for locals and tourists alike.
As a safety precaution, 2.5 kilometres of the trail has already closed due to erosion. A recent report given to council suggested that some of the areas that have been temporarily closed may need to be shut permanently.
Federal Member for Kingston Amanda Rishworth began a petition to save the boardwalk, and to put pressure on the City of Marion and state government to take action.
Over 5,000 people have already signed the petition, demanding a permanent solution to rebuild the boardwalk.
“The temporary closure of some sections could result in permanent closure. To me, that was really concerning,” Ms Rishworth said.
“The reason given was not only safety reasons and the ability to fix it but because the cost would be too great. The council would need support from the state government to actually fix it and repair it.”
The Marion Council announced over the weekend that it plans, in the short term, to fix the footings and re-open by February 2020, but requires $4.8 million of funding to assure the long-term viability of the structure.
Two features of the boardwalk which pose the most expensive are the two deep gullies at the centre of the trail.
The engineering required to ensure the long-term viability of the gullies has been described by Marion Council Mayor Kris Hanna as “tricky” and “expensive”.
Ms Rishworth said that the local council “can’t do that on its own”, and need “state and federal government support” to fund the project.
“Most of the whole walk can be done over the summer and cost less than $200,000. Council can wear that, no problem,” Mayor Hanna said.
“But, in terms of those two gullies, the estimate we’ve got for this stage, plus also connecting the path where the Field River comes out, has a price tag of $4.8 million. It’s just too much for council by itself to do.”
As the community meeting progressed, local residents were given the opportunity to voice their concerns over the possible closure.
“This whole walkway has not been well-publicised,” one local said when handed the microphone.
“That should be one of the great coastal walks of the world! We need a lot more advertisements. It would bring in a lot more people and a lot more money.”
Another local shared how she and her husband were married in front of the boardwalk, near where the conservation ends.
“It’s definitely a winner for us and I’m sure everyone feels the same whether they were married there or not. It’s our dream home and nothing is going to happen to it… over our dead bodies,” the local woman said.
Mayor Hanna reiterated that the walkway is used by approximately 30,000 people across the state every year, and it is a matter that “other levels of government need to help with”.
“Eventually it will all be re-opened. But when it comes to those two gullies in the middle, there will be a diversion up around The Cove Road until we can find those millions of dollars in funding,” Mayor Hanna said.
“Whether it’s $4.6 million or $4.9 million, who really knows. But that is the kind of money we are talking about. We can’t get our hands on that immediately. But with some help from our friends (government), it’s all possible.”
The Marion Council will discuss its next steps of action for the Hallett Cove boardwalk in a meeting on the 26th of November.
Federal Member for Kingston Amanda Rishworth’s petition can be viewed here.