THE Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) is urging beach users on the Surf Coast to exercise caution after heavy rainfall increased the severity of a major crack in the Demons Bluff clifftops at Anglesea.
GORCC’s coastal reserves manager Caleb Hurrell said due to the dynamic nature of the coastline, beach users were encouraged to avoid walking near cliffs.
“Coastal erosion and cliff falls are natural processes and are more likely to occur when the weather changes. And given all the rain we’ve had recently, the severity of the cracks in the area have increased.
“We’re asking all beach users to please stay on designated tracks and do not walk below the cliffs, especially at higher tides.
“We are installing additional signage on the beach warning that a collapse is imminent. Unfortunately, we can’t install webbing due to the waves and high tide inundating the whole area.
The extent and severity of cliff failure can increase after harsh winters and over the summer period due to the drying effects of hot weather, resulting in increased cracking and fracturing of cliff faces.
GORCC will continue to provide hazard warning signs, fencing and revegetation programs to help reduce the risk to the public in these areas.
Ongoing cliff monitoring and geotechnical investigations are being undertaken to assess future cliff risks.
Many cliff areas, particularly in the area between Jan Juc and Point Roadknight, and at Aireys Inlet, are susceptible to instability.
In August 2016, GORCC rerouted 400 metres of the Surf Coast Walk at Demons Bluff after an engineer’s report revealed that cracks in the side of the cliff represented a safety risk.
A raised boardwalk was constructed in 2017 above an existing ‘goat track’ across the heathlands to minimise vegetation disturbance.
The new boardwalk is set back from the cliffs, protecting the surrounding environment and allowing nature admirers to experience the heathland up close.
Part of the cliff face at Demons Bluff collapsed in November last year.