Proposing solutions to balance safety and natural beauty
Architecture & Access were engaged by the Dromana Foreshore Committee of Management to review existing public access, complete a strategic risk assessment and make recommendations for how beach access can be improved. The Committee received funding for this project from the Victorian Government Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA) Coastal Public Access and Risk 2022-2023 Grants Program.
The Dromana Foreshore is a beautiful and dynamic environment with an ever-changing 3-kilometre shoreline and this has been witnessed by our team even in the relatively short period of this project. Because of this, we recognised that it would be impossible to propose beach access solutions that fully comply with disability access standards, however we have proposed strategies with universal design in mind, aimed at increasing safety and improving access provision for all users.
Architecture & Access mapped each point of beach access from Safety Beach, at the end of the Nepean Hwy, through to the boat ramp at Anthony’s Nose. In consultation with the committee, we identified five priority sites, all at the north-east end of the foreshore where the dune tends to be higher and the access steeper. Each of these priority sites has been assessed by our in-house Safety in Design Consultant, Linus Tong, against a risk matrix to determine the level of risk, by considering the category of likelihood against the category of consequence.
Image: Codrington Street access
The architectural team, led by Tim Randall established a toolkit of design strategies which can be deployed to reduce risk and improve access. We considered the varied site conditions, the impact of natural elements, and diverse beach users with their competing interests, range of abilities and inevitable entourage of eskies, marquis and paddleboards that descend daily over summer. The strategies included upgrading stairs, rebuilding paths, installing new handrails, providing beach matting and improving drainage. The report included typical details and a palette of recommended materials, designed to be robust and low maintenance in an unforgiving marine environment.
The overall design strategy sought to balance safety and natural beauty, proposing solutions for the extensive and heavily used coastal access paths on the Dromana Foreshore Reserve. This project will provide a masterplan for future grant applications to undertake the recommended capital works. In the near future, Architecture & Access look forward to working with the Dromana Foreshore Committee of Management to bring some of these specific upgrade projects to fruition.