Rainbow Beach stairs set to return today
RAINBOW Beach residents will finally have easier access to the beach near Mudlo Rocks after workers replace the bottom section of the beach stairs today.
The stairs have been left incomplete since Cyclone Winston battered the Queensland coastline in late February, bringing waves up to 2.75m crashing on Rainbow Beach.
When residents first noticed a third of the stairs were missing, they assumed the swell had washed them away before Division 1 councillor Mark McDonald told media the council had removed the them before the big swell.
Gympie Regional Council mayor Mick Curran said the stairs had to be closed for public safety.
"They were just hanging in the free air, and too dangerous," Cr Curran said.
"During the cyclone, about two metres of the sand was eroded."
Three months later, enough sand has finally returned for the council to reinstall the stairs.
Those works are set to begin at 11am today, and Cr Curran said the stairs will be complete and open to public use by close of business today.
"We had to wait for Mother Nature, because what we've got there at the moment was only of a certain height," Cr Curran said.
"Now that sand is back, the bottom part of the steps are being replaced."
But that's not the end of the story.
Cr Curran said council engineers were working to find a long-term solution to avoid the stairs becoming unusable for months at a time.
"We knew that was going to be a problem initially, it just happened more quickly than we thought," Cr Curran said.
"We're doing design work to make it permanent in those cyclone events and weather events where the sand gets washed out."
"Once sand goes, it leaves a fair drop-off."
Cr Curran said the new design will still have to go through the rigours of environmental approvals.
"It will sort of be permanent so as sand goes, there'll be stairs under the sand, not down to the level there was when they were put in," he said.