Manly to Shelly Beach walk: Deteriorating sewerage pipes threatening iconic walk

PLANS NEEDED: It's time to better preserve the Manly to Shelly Beach walk, deputy mayor Candy Bingham says. Picture: Geoff Jones
PLANS NEEDED: It's time to better preserve the Manly to Shelly Beach walk, deputy mayor Candy Bingham says. Picture: Geoff Jones

IT'S a walk that's as famous as the suburb itself, but lying just underneath are 120-year-old sewerage pipes that are showing signs of deterioration.

The pipes underneath the Manly to Shelly Beach path take sewerage from the northern beaches, and as far away as Seven Hills and Bankstown, to North Head.

"The whole reason it was built was to cover up the main sewer line," deputy mayor Candy Bingham said of the walkway.

"There's signs of deterioration of the pipes because of all the smashing waves. With all the massive storms we've been having over the years, there's concern about the pipes.

"The seawall is basically just a big retaining wall, the whole thing could collapse."

Big swells have caused previous damage to the walkway, including the massive 2016 storm, that undermined homes in Narrabeen and Collaroy, which did significant damage to pathway, toilet block and Sea Nymphs sculpture at Fairy Bower.

"The toilet block was lifted and put into the Bower," Cr Bingham said. "The toilet block damaged the sculpture beyond repair."

Cr Bingham said it took a long time to repair the footpath because of the uncertainty over who owned it. While some of the land is council owned, the Catholic Church own other parts, and Sydney Water is responsible for the sewer pipes.

"The concern is that it's ageing infrastructure and it's time to plan for the future," she said.

Cr Bingham has called on a master plan to be drafted to help preserve the iconic walk end ensure vital sewerage infrastructure is safe from damage by waves and storms.

She estimates a master plan would cost $200,000 to produce and it will help determine who owns what section of the walkway.

"A masterplan is more than just beautification, it's replacing old infrastructure," she said. "We really need Sydney Water to come on board and contribute to the funds. We're written to James Griffin who's our local representative for Sydney Water.

"We can leave it alone because if we don't it'll get messed up. It's basically a tarred road."

Cr Bingham said the walkway is regularly re-tarred, and she suggested sandstone could be used as a pathway to help beautify the area.

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