So a few months back for one of our projects we visited the boat ramp area of Price with the dumpy level to determine the height of the seawall and its relationship to a project proposal. The Price / Wills Creek area comprises of a carpark, two shelters, picnic table, ski beach, seawall, boat ramp, and small fishing platform, along with the Wills Creek Conservation Park. A recent check indicates that Wills Creek Conservation Park is part of the Walk the Yorke trail, being along the Pt Clinton to Ardrossan trail. The Walk the Yorke maps do not provide classification of the walking tracks to AS2156 Walking Tracks Infrastructure Design, and visiting Wills Creek Conservation Park requires a detour off the main Walk the Yorke track.

The Wills Creek Conservation Park is indicated as being accessible by a causeway, which is mainly constructed for use by cars towing boats. Whilst we were driving along the causeway, we did encounter a parked car, with people exploring the banks of the causeway on both sides of the road: the road seemed narrow and hazardous for such activity. Not certain how safe it would be to actually walk along the causeway to the conservation park, or even if such is necessary to access the park. Looking out over the area from the causeway, the area looked like it may have had ponds of water amongst mangroves, and gave the impression that may not be safe to wander around, as the ground maybe boggy and unstable. Any case it is indicated as a popular tourist spot, so must be reasonably safe to explore. The point is if choose to walk along the causeway, need to be on the look out for cars towing boats, and be sure have a safe place to retreat out off the way. Also note that the causeway and parking area are prone to flooding: ” PRICE: Seawater Flooding Adaptation pathways for Yorke Peninsula Settlements.”

The distance from the main road to the seawall scales approximately 1.5 km using Google Earth, at an average walking speed of 5 km/h, that’s around an 18 minute walk. The causeway is also not overly suitable for bicycles,  wheel chairs, or mobility scooters. So without any footpaths marked nor boardwalk from the main road to the parking area, it is probably preferable to drive. {Raises the question as to how viable it would be to construct a boardwalk, which loops through the conservation park on both sides of the causeway, and provides for continuity in the Walk the Yorke track}

Wills Creek Conservation Park: Signage indicating very little is permitted in the Park

Wills Creek Conservation Park: Signage indicating very little is permitted in the Park

Looking from the seawall back along the causeway

Looking from the seawall back along the causeway

Looking from the seawall across the creek

Looking from the seawall across the creek

Bottom of Boat Ramp, small fishing platform in background

Bottom of Boat Ramp, small fishing platform in background

Some Recent Site History

Some Recent Site History

Site History

Site History

Signage Indicating Hazards of Boating in the Gulf

Signage Indicating Hazards of Boating in the Gulf

Shelter and Picnic Table as seen from bottom of seawall

Shelter and Picnic Table as seen from bottom of seawall

View Inside the Shelter Showing Additional Picnic Table

View Inside the Shelter Showing Additional Picnic Table

Sign Cluster and Bench at Top of the Seawall

Sign Cluster and Bench at Top of the Seawall

Kerb Top of Seawall Adjacent Bench

Kerb Top of Seawall Adjacent Bench

Tide Coming In, Beach in front of Seawall

Tide Coming In, Beach in front of Seawall

Sightseeing however wasn’t our reason for being there, it was to determine the height and extent of the seawall. Unfortunately we only have a 3m staff, so we couldn’t just set up the dumpy level in the carpark, and measure the drop. So instead we used a spirit level (1200 mm long), and measured the fall in small incremental steps, at the 3 sections along the seawall. The 3 sections chosen, were at the assumed ends of the proposed project, and the midpoint. Assumed ends, because the site plan we had didn’t map to the onsite measurements of the seawall: we took the ski beach end of the seawall as our datum point. We also took the kerb at the top of the seawall as a reference datum as it contained a permanent survey marker (PSM).

Permanent Survey Marker (PSM) Notification

Permanent Survey Marker (PSM) Notification

PSM in the form of a nail

PSM in the form of a nail

We then setup the dumpy level on the ski beach. From this location we took levels along the toe of the seawall, and on the ground in front of the seawall. Also took levels up the seawall adjacent to the ski beach, and on the top of an old stump. This stump was used as a change point from the ski beach into the carpark area.

Dumpy Level Setup on Ski Beach.  Just before we moved it to new location, as the tide was coming in.

Dumpy Level Setup on Ski Beach. Just before we moved it to new location, as the tide was coming in.

Close Up of Dumpy Level

Close Up of Dumpy Level

Old wooden shoring in front of the seawall Possibly part of the old wharf

Old wooden shoring in front of the seawall Possibly part of the old wharf

Seawall at the Ski Beach

Seawall at the Ski Beach

View of Ski Beach. Stump used for point transfer, somewhere around the middle of right side.

View of Ski Beach. Stump used for point transfer, somewhere around the middle of right side.

 

Looking Down from Top of Seawall, Tide Coming In.

Looking Down from Top of Seawall, Tide Coming In.

Whilst there measuring up, and taking spot levels, we also took a look at the existing fishing platform, to get an idea of the general aesthetic of the area. A general requirement of the development act and associated local develop plans is that new construction should match existing and not otherwise look out off place. For example if we were to design something more substantial and robust than the existing, then it would give rise to questions about the suitability of the existing and potentially create public pressure to upgrade the existing or remove it.

From viewing the existing, and given the potential hazard dodging cars when walking along the causeway, my judgment is that  the walkway is no better than a class/grade 5 walking track (AS2156). To improve its ranking the causeway needs to be made more walkable: either by creating a fenced off footpath, or construction of an elevated boardwalk alongside the causeway. On the other hand a boardwalk could bypass the causeway, start near the adjacent caravan park and a more scenic route through the conservation park, travel along the top of the seawall, and loop around to fowlers terrace and create continuity with the route of the Walk the Yorke track.

Existing Fishing Platform, note the single rail barrier, to one side of the walkway.

Existing Fishing Platform, note the single rail barrier, to one side of the walkway.

Assume this is a boat access point on the platform

Assume this is a boat access point on the platform

Corner Post, note change in height of rail

Corner Post, note change in height of rail

Typical Construction of the Jetty/walkway

Typical Construction of the Jetty/walkway

Deck Top Connection of Guard rail Post

Deck Top Connection of Guard rail Post

Note Kerb or Kick plate  type edge to the platform and jetty

Note Kerb or Kick plate type edge to the platform and jetty

Post Connected to Face of Beam, Note Rust Indicating Lack of Maintenance

Post Connected to Face of Beam, Note Rust Indicating Lack of Maintenance

One thing noticeable about the existing construction is that the post to the guard railing is all connected such that the base moment from the post acts about the longitudinal axis of the members to which it is attached. That is the base moment doesn’t become a bending moment in the supporting member but a torsional moment. Most structural members have low torsional resistance (capacity), so whilst it may be a simple way to connect the posts, it is not ideal.

The timbers also show signs of weathering, and the steel shows signs of corrosion indicating a lack of maintenance. Given the lack of maintenance, and the type of railing to the platform, reinforces my judgement that the facility is part of a class 5 walking track.

To improve its ranking the barriers would need to be upgraded, and the access way (jetty) would need to provide for wheelchair access along with access for mobility scooters. The platform would need a larger area to accommodate the turning circle of wheelchairs and mobility scooters, and the rails would need to be set lower so that people can fish whilst seated in a wheelchair or mobility scooter. Upgrade is therefore not practical, as it would largely involve  removal of the platform and construction of a new platform, depriving people of the current amenity for some time. Given that someones catch of the day may be someone’s daily meal, such loss of amenity is not acceptable. It is therefore suggested that the platform remain in its current form, and as a class/grade 5 walking track. However, it is also suggested that the platform is due for maintenance: removal of rust, painting of the steelwork, and possibly replacement of corroded fasteners. Or at the very minimum an assessment of its remaining life, and the day it needs to be removed due to no longer having adequate strength to be considered suitable for purpose.

From a tourism viewpoint the area seems like a nice quiet and peaceful place. Though parents with young children need to provide close supervision to avoid accidents:

  1. Involving motorists towing boats
  2. Falls and tumbles down the seawall
  3. Falls from the fishing platform

Also wouldn’t want children wandering off and getting lost in the conservation park. So I judge as class 5 walk, not because strenuous walk and rough terrain, nor because it is inaccessible to emergency services. For the walk wouldn’t be too hard, and the place is accessible to emergency services, though suitable hospital may be some distant away. No! The reason for class 5, is because there are hazards. Hazards which in the main have been put there. For example causeway with no footpath, carpark with no parking bays marked, seawall with no barrier, platform with limited accessibility.

The proposed project aims to improve the amenity of the place. Though indications from people visiting the area at the time, and asking what we were doing,  suggests the proposal may be too small. Noting that the old wharf was apparently 12m long, and people familiar with this, and the amenity it provided both during its commercial use and after its commercial use stopped, may expect similar amenity to be restored. It seems the wharf ceased to be used as such around 1969. From our measurements the seawall appears to have a frontage of 37 m, so 12m wouldn’t be using too much of the available frontage.

It should also be noted that placing a barrier along the seawall, would hinder access down onto the beach area in front of seawall when the tide is out. Such barrier would also block view of the landscape when seated on the available benches.

Put simply determining needs to improve amenity of the area, and attract tourism would be a significant design project in itself. Our project is not that extensive, and involves providing structural drawings and calculations for a proposed new structure. However, I  thought I would mention the issues as it highlights a common problem: seeking drawings for development approval or structural calculations before proper assessment of needs. Design involves a lot more than simply producing a drawing of a desired artefact: the desires, objectives and intents need to be properly assessed.

For example what decisions gave rise to the carpark and seawall in the first place? Why wasn’t the original wharf maintained, repaired and/or replaced? Why isn’t the carpark and seawall higher, given that markings on the solar light pole base indicate flooding of the area? Were flood levels unknown, is flooding acceptable, or was funding limited? How many tourists currently visit the area, how many tourists can be expected to visit the area?

If tourism is an industry, and important part of the economy, then we need measurements. How can we measure traffic flows in and out off such area, and similar areas around the Yorke Peninsula? Thus determining the value and importance of such amenities, and in turn the importance of proper maintenance.

Pressure pads and gates come to mind as means of counting vehicles and people flowing in and out of an area. Whilst webcams can be used to monitor an area, and inform visitors as to whether an area is currently fully occupied or available for use.

Currently it does seem that the internet is not being put to maximum use for the benefit of the Yorke Peninsula area, and there is still too much reliance on telephones, paper post and actual on the ground presence by business. The internet is an important tool for resolving logistics problems, and managing access to shared resources.

Not sure but checking the current Yorke Peninsula web site, it may now be possible to get maps, and camping permits and other permits required by online purchase, rather than having to travel all the way to Minlaton: not exactly a gateway as already in the middle of the Peninsula by the time arrive there.

Seems a tour of the peninsula is in order.