Beach access ‘denied’
RESIDENTS of Sorrento Crescent are up in arms over Cairns Regional Council’s decision to close a beach access pathway south of the Sheraton Mirage.
The access pathway is maintained by the Sheraton Mirage, which yesterday said council had not informed management of the closure.
Council said the closure is due to safety concerns, primarily due to tree roots causing damage to the concrete path, and plans to detour pedestrians instead to a pathway down Sorrento Cr.
The path stops on Solander Boulevard and pedestrians then have to access the end of the southern Sheraton access path to get to the beach.
Sorrento Cr resident Tina Gonsalves said they are concerned tourists will get lost on the new route and is worried about the safety of beachgoers and residents.
‘‘I can’t understand why the council would want to close an existing direct access path that the tourists can never get lost on which also has parking,’’ she said.
‘‘A big concern about accessing the alternative path is safety issues as the road is not wide enough for cars and pedestrians.
‘‘Two cars in opposite directions cannot pass each other and there is no footpath so pedestrians need to walk on the road.
‘‘It will bring a lot more noise to the area from the hundreds of people passing through, from the walkers and cyclists before sunrise to the drunk people after dark.
‘‘We want tourists to have a good experience but we are also protective of our privacy.’’
Resident Michael Gabour questioned the cost of fixing the direct beach access versus improvement to the alternate path and making Sorrento Cr more pedestrian-friendly.
‘‘The new council will be forced to put a path down on the street which costs just as much as maintaining that pathway,’’ he said.
Robyn Smith of Sorrento said she could not understand why they would take away a pathway that is ‘‘perfectly good, just in need of some repairs’’, while neighbour Annie Stievano said this shock announcement is similar to when council chopped down the coconuts last year.
‘‘We are horrified that once again there has been no consultation,’’ Annie Stievano said.
The lack of consultation also extends to Division 10 Julia Leu, who said while she agrees there are some safety and maintenance issues with the current pathway, it can be easily rectified.
‘‘I was particularly unimpressed as I knew nothing about the proposed closure until residents starting contacting me after receiving a flyer last Friday, notifying them that the pathway ‘will be closed’ due to safety concerns,’’ she said.
‘‘The pathway was built when the Sheraton Resort was established to ensure locals and tourists had access to the beach and is subject to a 1988 agreement between the Douglas Shire Council and the Sheraton Resort whereby the owner of the resort property is fully responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the pathway to the satisfaction of council.’’
Sheraton Mirage general manager Lachlan Walker said they had no knowledge of the closure and have informed their engineer to get in contact with council to resolve the issue.
‘‘It is a complete surprise to us - we actually did some work on it several months ago,’’ he said.
Council said it would look into whether any improvements are required for the alternate pathway and will leave the southern Sheraton beach access pathway to naturally regenerate.
Anyone with concerns should contact Cairns Regional Council by May 31 on 4044 3303 or email@example.com
THE ’UNSAFE PATH’:
angered residents Robyn Smith, Annie Stievano, Rod Sherlock and Ander Stievano