May 27 - June 2, 2018: Issue 361

Palm Beach Boardwalk Plan for Kiddies Corner To Be Halted Pending Further Community Consultation

Palm Beach south during January 2018, where everyone drives and walks slow.
On Tuesday 8 August 2017 the Council under Administration adopted the Palm Beach (South) Landscape Masterplan, noting that 32 submissions of feedback had been received and that;
'The main issue raised in the submissions is the loss of approximately 10 to 12 parking bays at the southern end of the beach to accommodate a short boardwalk. However, it is recommended to retain the boardwalk to address pedestrian safety in this area, particularly for elderly people and children.'

The process for the Draft Landscape Masterplan (Palm Beach South) commenced in 2016, with the Palm Beach (South) Draft Landscape Masterplan (the Masterplan) being presented to Council at its meeting on 27 June 2017 where it was approved for public exhibition. Feedback closed on July 30th 2017.

During and after that process emails and phone calls to this news service reiterated the opposite view, that the safety of children, seniors and people with disabilities would actually be reduced through the loss of parking spaces with by the sand access through the installation of that boardwalk. Other communications emphasised a boardwalk would not do very well in the first significant storm event.

The expressed concerns persisted from Palm Beach residents and those from beaches further south who regularly use the beach as a safe area to bring children, elderly residents or to access a safe beach bay easily for activities such as Surfers with Disabilities fun days.
A December 2017 article outlined and illustrated their concerns, with one resident commencing collecting signatures for a petition which read;

a) Any changes made to the current parking which has ALWAYS been allowed along the beach at the southern end of Ocean Road, Palm Beach.
b) A boardwalk built along this section which would prove totally impractical to maintain due to sand movement and storm wave action.

At the council Meeting of May 22nd this week Stephen addressed council during the Community Forum segment of the meeting in support of a Motion tabled by Cr. Amon.

"The community’s concern with the proposal for Kiddies corner is first and foremost the unacceptable loss of at least 17 parking spaces, the number of vehicles (that were) parked along the stretch on Australia Day (2018)." Mr. Guildford said

"This strip is part of the unique character and vibe of Kiddies Corner …

Issues of safety have been raised, however, the majority of users of this parking strip are families with young children who specifically come to Kiddies Corner for the safety aspects. They can park adjacent to the beach and children can exit vehicles directly onto the beach without t the need to cross a road.

In a submission to council in July 2017 the Palm Beach & Whale Beach Association expressed concern at the potential loss of parkling along the beachside at Kiddies Corner, noting that these parking spaces are regularly used by families with young children.

The roadway is well signed as a shared zone with pedestrian priority, a 10 kph speed limit and over a dozen speed reduction bumps and it has workled perfectly well this way.

A petition has already been presented to Council signed by over 500 people who are dismayed at the prospect of losing their amenity.

The Masterplan for Kiddies corner has been drawn up without an understanding of the impact it will have on their lifestyle. 
As anyone familiar with Kiddies Corner will know this is a zone of constant wave action and shifting sands. A boardwalk would quickly become covered with sand, making it unusable, and during increasing storm activity could be severely damaged even washed away.
The last storm event which flooded Ocean Road causing extensive damage was less than 2 years ago.

Whilst it may appear that vehicles along this strip are parked on the beach, if the sand is scraped back it will be seen from the photographs before you that a hard core foundation extends well onto the beach.

If this road edge were properly formed on top of this existing foundation, maybe with some bollards (installed) to stop encroachment onto the beach, then vehicles could still be allowed to park there.

The other photographs show this is already a council authorized ‘parking ticket’ zone providing safe parking for the predominant users of this area, families with young children.

We are asking that the proposal to build a boardwalk, an unnecessary, expensive and impartial structure, be scrapped and the beachside edge of the Ocean road be properly formed and stablised to allow existing parking to continue for the safety of families with young children." 

Richard West, President of the Palm Beach & Whale beach Association also spoke in support of the Motion, stating,
"I refer to the submission that the PBWBA made on July 2017 regarding the master plan for the beach, which I have tabled.
The association strongly endorsed the draft plans.

The plans preserve the iconic nature of Palm Beach at the same time providing vastly improved pedestrian access and enjoyment of the area particularly for the elderly, disabled and young families.
We worked well with Jenny Cronin and her team when the plans were formulated.

We did express concern of the potential loss of parking spaces at Kiddies corner when the proposed walkway is built. As Stephen has said these parking spaces are regularly used by families with young children.

Kiddies corner is an iconic part of Palm Beach where young families can enjoy tranquil surf.

I remember taking my children and now my grandchildren to kiddies corner. I always equated taking young children to the beach like moving house. You need to collect the children and keep them in order with surfboards, umbrellas, towels, food, nappies prams etc.

Easy direct access to the beach is essential, there is nowhere else to park in peak periods. Removing up to 19 car parking spaces is unacceptable.

The PBWBA strongly supports Stephens proposal and the motion submitted by Councillor Rory Amon."

Councillor Rory Amon's Notice of Motion (32/2018):

'That in view of community concerns expressed regarding the proposed boardwalk at Kiddies Corner, at the Southern end of Palm Beach (“Boardwalk”) and the associated loss of parking spaces, Council halt the progression of the construction of the Boardwalk, pending further community consultation and a briefing to Councillors following that consultation.'

The Motion was seconded by Councillor Kylie Ferguson, voted on, with all Councillors Unanimously voting For the Motion. 

This is timely given that the Palm Beach (South) Landscape Masterplan webpage announced 14 days ago that;
'Landscape improvements between Ocean Place and the Pavilion will start in late May/early June 2018. Work will include:
  • reshaping the dunes and turf
  • establishing a crushed sandstone path
A condition audit of the Palm Beach rock pool will be completed and the recommendations will assist in the development and prioritisation of Council’s Ocean Pool Renewal Program.

A geotechnical investigation will also be carried out to determine how to best improve drainage on the western side of Ocean Road

Detailed design work is scheduled to commence in later 2018 to estimate scope and budgets for future stages of work.'

So there is time, time for community feedback once that is announced as 'open'.

Some of the families and pictures of Stephen took while gathering signatures: lots of smiles here!