Pedestrians and beach users are encouraged to take care near cliffs along the Surf Coast following heavy rain in winter and spring.
Great Ocean Road Coast Committee, Parks Victoria and Surf Coast Shire Council said the start of summer was a good opportunity to remind community members and visitors about cliff instability.
Surf Coast Shire Councillor Libby Coker encouraged people to pay attention to signs and respect fences.
“We live in a coastal environment that can be fragile,” she said.
“It’s important that people read the signs and obey the boundaries for their own safety.”
Visitors can also assist by staying on designated tracks, not damaging native vegetation and keeping clear of cliffs, especially at higher tides.
Great Ocean Road Coast Committee’s Coastal Reserves Manager Caleb Hurrell said the heavy rains and wet weather over winter and spring has resulted in significant coastal changes to cliff structures and dunes.
“Many cliff areas, particularly in the area between Jan Juc and Point Roadknight, and at Aireys Inlet, are susceptible to instability,” Mr Hurrell said.
Parks Victoria Area Chief Ranger Michelle Anstee said cliff failure is a natural process along coastal reserves.
“Due to the dynamic nature of the coastline, visitors must take care in the interests of their own safety,” Ms Anstee said.
“The extent and severity of cliff failure can increase over the summer period due to the drying effects of hot weather, resulting in increased cracking and fracturing of cliff faces.”
In recent years, Great Ocean Road Coast – in conjunction with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Parks Victoria and Surf Coast Shire Council – has implemented hazard avoidance methods to reduce cliff instability and public risk including:
- Regular monitoring and geotechnical investigations.
- Controlling public access via closure and removal of dangerous infrastructure.
- Providing hazard avoidance information to discourage public access.
- Managing stormwater and fencing unstable areas.
- Revegetating actively eroding areas.