Pedestrians still waiting for footpath

Workmen remove a Pandanus tree from the Watpac construction site. Photo: Mike Garry/scw1488
Workmen remove a Pandanus tree from the Watpac construction site. Photo: Mike Garry/scw1488

Councillor Vivien Griffin has become so frustrated with delays in building a temporary footpath along the front of the Watpac development site in Coolum, she has released a paper trail of internal and external council correspondence.

Accommodation managers and Beach Road traders have been calling for pedestrian access along the western side of the David Low Way to be restored since the February launch of the redevelopment of the esplanade shopping precinct.

In March, Ms Griffin and Maroochydore MP Fiona Simpson met with the Sunshine Coast council, Watpac and department of main roads representatives in an attempt to fast-track the footpath.

In an email to stakeholders this week, Ms Griffin said that at the meeting “the matter was stressed as urgent, and Watpac responded the next day”.

“Despite agreement on the way forward, the pedestrian access has not yet been delivered,” she said.

Ms Griffin’s paper trail shows that the council’s operational works assessment manager, Michael Henderson, wrote to Watpac on April 22, giving the developer the green light to construct a 1200mm-wide temporary path offering “safe pedestrian access along the full frontage of the subject site”.

The council would assume the costs and responsibility for maintenance and the risk involving the hoop pine and pandanus trees on site.

Watpac was to amend its construction management plan and get it endorsed by the council and main roads before work could begin.

Still nothing has happened and Watpac refuses to comment, other than to say “ask council”.

But based on the agreement between Watpac and the council, the footpath, if it is ever built, would be open only until about August 1.

During this time, the footpath would be closed “for short periods of up to a week” for the installation of water connections and electricity.

Mr Henderson said main roads officers had given Watpac “verbal approval” for the change to the construction management plan, but the developer had to gain formal approval once the change had been made.

“We have requested that Watpac implement the agreed pedestrian thoroughfare as soon as possible,” he wrote in response to Ms Griffin’s question about a timeframe.

“We are aware they, Watpac, have already made some preliminary adjustments within the site so that when DMR gives approval, then works can be finalised quickly.”

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