Portsea beach – the problem that just keeps on giving

June 2012
Ever since we first reported that Portsea beach was on the slide back in 2008, conditions there have continued to slide.
The Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) and the soon to be defunct Office of Environmental Monitor (OEM) however continue to claim that there is no connection between deepening of The Entrance and the damage to Portsea beach that followed soon after.

We’ve got pictures over the decades dating back 100 years which show a relatively stable beach at Portsea, despite various extreme weather events, right up until 2008, when it all started to go pear shaped. So, if the cause has been extreme weather, as OEM and DSE seem to claim, why hasn’t the beach returned to normal as it did in the past after extreme weather? Instead DSE rushed in to spend over $2 million on the ghastly sandbag wall, which admittedly might be slowing rapid erosion of expensive real estate, but has done absolutely nothing for those who want their beach back.

As well as dramatic loss of beach, conditions on the pier since 2008 have often been unsafe. Waves sometimes wash over unsuspecting sightseers and the low landing- supposedly for the safe transfer of passengers to and from boats - can be underwater at high tide or surging with swell and likely to knock you off your feet if you happen to be standing there when the (now regular) swell comes through.

Anyway, at last something was to be done about the pier - despite it not being many years since it was refurbished, and presumably to withstand all that nature could throw at it – otherwise what’s the point of a pier?


Parks Victoria to the rescue. In it’s 27th April 2012 Media Release, PV announced it would be raising the height of the low landing by 300 mm. Works would commence on 7th May and would likely be complete by 18th May.

That date has come and gone, but works have stopped midstream so to speak. The low landing is dismantled and off limits. We’re told that contractors say that pylons had sustained more damage than expected and works will not be finished until mid July.

Oh, and Parks Victoria’s Media Release seems to have mysteriously disappeared from their website, so we can’t give you a link to it. Good thing we kept a copy!

Here’s the text:

27 April 2012

Portsea Pier Temporarily Closed for Maintenance Works.

Portsea Pier will be temporarily closed for maintenance works from Monday 7 May as part of Parks Victorias ongoing pier and jetty maintenance program in Port Phillip and Western Port.

“Regular inspections are carried out by Parks Victoria on all our piers and jetties, including Portsea Pier, so we can ensure a safe environment for all visitors to our piers,” said Parks Victoria Ranger In Charge Reece Taranto.

The works will include the installation of new cross heads and beams along the initial lower landing and an increase in the height of the current low landing by 300mm.

“The maintenance works will ensure Portsea Pier will continue to service the Mornington Peninsula for many more years.” said Mr Taranto

The works are being completed midweek during the off peak season to minimise disruptions and are expected to take approximately two weeks.

Portsea Pier will remain closed until the completion of repair works for public safety which are expected to be completed by the 18 May subject to weather conditions.

For more information contact the Parks Victoria Information Centre on 13 1963 or visit www.parks.vic.gov.au

(Don’t bother checking their website for more information - there’s nothing there - BW Ed)


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