Council to reopen damaged South Gorge stairs

Redland City Council has allocated $180,000 to rebuild the popular South Gorge stairs on North Stradbroke Island, which were washed out during heavy rain in January.

Redland City Mayor Karen Williams said the funding allocated during today’s General Meeting was an interim measure while a permanent solution was designed.

“The South Gorge pedestrian walk is a popular attraction for tourists and residents taking in the beautiful Straddie vistas and this funding will allow us to reopen it quickly and safely,” she said.

“Storms in January resulted in larger than usual stormwater runoff eroding the ground under the timber stairs, undermining the integrity of the pedestrian access, so it had to be closed for safety reasons.

“Due to the terrain a long-term solution may be expensive and take time, so today’s decision is important to providing access to residents as soon as possible.”

Division 2 Councillor Craig Ogilvie said the South Gorge pedestrian stairs were popular with wedding parties looking for that perfect photo opportunity.

“Unfortunately bookings at South Gorge had to be cancelled while the stairs were closed because it was just too unsafe, but now we have the green light to repair the stairs and reopen them as soon as practicable and continue looking at a permanent fix,” he said.

“There were concerns that if we didn’t provide safe access, the community would make their own access putting themselves at risk, so today’s decision is also important from a community safety perspective.

“The works will include stabilising the embankment, improving stormwater drainage and repairing the timber stairs.”

Cr Ogilvie said the works would ensure the Gorge Walk will remained one of South-East Queensland’s most acclaimed tourist attractions.

“People come from all over to walk the Straddie gorge with it providing a great place to spot marine life such as whales, dolphins and turtles,” he said.

“Council has invested about $2 million into this popular walkway, including more than $700,000 last year for stage three and today’s decision continues our commitment to maintaining it for residents and visitors.”

Council had to consider the Coastal Marine protection Act and heritage reserves in planning the project.