Still bangin’ the drum…

23 February 2012

Regular visitors to the Bells Reserve would be aware of the construction work taking place these days. You may have been given this hand out,

or seen it elsewhere on this site.

Make no mistake. This work is being done to accommodate commercial tour operators within the Bells reserve.

We have been at pains to point out the ramifications of catering to commercial operators at Bells else where on the site, but by way of a quick summary:

*The commercial tour operators shouldn’t be in the Reserve in the first place.

*The benefits of allowing the commercial operators into Bells is negligible to non-existant in a financial, cultural or environmental sense, and dare we say it, it isn’t of much value to the punters on the tours.

*The shire has plans to drastically alter the layout of the car parks at Bells and Winki, including construction of a toilet / change room / visitor centre in the Winki carpark, in a way that will disadvantage surfers and the money spinning drive in tourists that make a huge contribution to the Surf Coast economy.

*Without the commercial tour operators, the existing infrastructure (if properly maintained) is more than adequate to cope with most levels of drive in drive out tourists and surfers.

*If we get rid of the commercial operators then we don’t have a reason to have these developments, and the problem goes away.

Still with us? Good.

The current works in the car park, including the removal of planted areas, are being done based on recommendations contained in this risk assessment document,

O’Brien Traffic Report,

and, as we said before, it is all being done by the Surf Coast Shire to accommodate commercial tour operators.

Feel free to peruse the document at your leisure, but bear in mind that it was done on a day when the surf was poor to unsurfable. Compare the conditions in the video below with the car free conditions shown in the report and decide which is more representative of normal conditions:

The important thing to note is that the large tourist coaches are told to make a ‘U’ turn halfway down the hill towards the Bells car park hammerhead.

So let’s see what an independent traffic assessment has to say about that:

Independent Assessment

To paraphrase, the second study raises doubts about the ability of the large tourist coaches to do a safe turn to exit the car park in the manner described in the above hand out. It also highlights that the recommendations in the first assessment overlook some significant Australian Standards including allowable gradients for bus turning areas and safe turning radii. There is also the issue of the speed hump located adjacent to the Bells toilets, or to quote the engineering company that commissioned the second report:

“I have grave concerns about a number of issues but particularly the lower speed hump opposite the toilets.

Although on plan it appears to be the logical location, when the terrain gradients are considered it is poorly located.
This hump is located at the transition of the steepest road grade and a section which is also at significant grade. To navigate this speed hump may require some vehicles to “get a run up” particularly in wet conditions. I also have serious concerns about any caravans that find themselves in this area of the carpark – a situation that is common over summer.
If white zebra lines are painted on the road surface, this will make the speed hump extremely slippery when wet which may be a hazard for pedestrians due to the crossfall.
In the interests of safety, I believe that the location of the speed hump should be reconsidered.
Also, as I indicated when I first saw the planned works, I do not believe the coaches will be able to negotiate a turn without reversing, even when vegetation is removed. I have had the turning circle layouts reviewed by an independent civil engineer and they confirmed my concerns. If all conditions on site are ideal, that is that all vehicles are parked fully in allocated areas with small length cars hard against the kerb, then coaches may negotiate a full turn provided they keep unrealistically close to parked vehicles. As this is an unlikely scenario and coaches will likely need to undertake 3 point turns even after the spending of council funds.”

Andrew Cherubin & Associates

Which is another way of saying that the Surf Coast Shire are spending a lot of money to do something that isn’t going to work, in an attempt to accommodate buses that shouldn’t be in the reserve in the first place.

One Response to “Still bangin’ the drum…”

  1. Paul Sargeant says:

    Struth! Why don’t they just re-name it the Bells Bus Depot?!? And that was on a crappy surf day in 90 minutes? It’s downright dangerous.

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