The Kiama Coastal Walk is a “stunning 22km pathway accompanying our sparkling coastline” according to Destination Kiama.
And for the most part it is.
However, there is a small stretch of pathway on Kiama Council land between Boneyard and Bombo beach which leaves much to be desired.
About five years ago there was a landslip, eroding land on the western side of the path managed by Sydney Trains, damaging the pathway, nearby sewerage system and high pressure gas main.
Temporary fixes were implemented for the high pressure gas main, pathway and sewerage system, which services Minnamurra and Gainsborough populations while Sydney Trains undertook land stabilisation works.
Five years on and the bright orange temporary fencing, the unpaved, gravel path and the stench from the temporary sewerage pipe lingers, and local residents fear the area will remain in a state of disrepair indefinitely.
Kiama Councillor Warren Steel, who lives at Bombo, shares these concerns.
“Look at this, this is disgraceful for an area like this,” Cr Steel said.
“Virtually a couple of times a week someone walks through and says, ‘what’s happening down there?’ and I feel like a moron, I can’t tell them when it’s going to be fixed.”
He has been pursuing the matter with council for years, and is fed up with inaction.
“It’s not fair for people walking on it, we must get 100 bikes through here every day,” Cr Steel said.
“What I’m most worried about is the sewerage line. I don’t think the people of Minamurra and Gainsborough realise what could happen (if the land moves again).”
Kiama Council and Sydney Trains have been at loggerheads over the job.
Council’s Engineering and Works director Gino Belsito said council was waiting on Sydney Trains to complete stabilisation works near the path.
“Even then, there’s no point fixing the pathway until the gas and sewer mains under the path are moved uphill,” he said.
“It’s a multi-agency issue.
“The sewerage line needs maintenance, and so does the high-pressure gas main.”
Kiama MP Gareth Ward liaised with NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance and told Fairfax Media the pathway was council’s matter to address.
“Sydney Trains has invested more than $6 million on slope stabilisation and drainage upgrades on the rail corridor between Bombo and Minnamurra stations to ensure the network is safe for customers and staff,” Mr Ward said.
“We have ongoing monitoring systems set up for the slope on the eastern side of station, it is not under Sydney Trains management.
“In saying that, if i have to get both Kiama Council and Sydney Trains in the same room to sort it out, then i will.”
Cr Steel welcomed the idea of a meeting, and called for swift action.
“At least if we could meet with them (Sydney Trains) and tell them how frustrated we are, that would be a start,” he said.
“We need a meeting immediately, not put off a couple of months or so.
“We’ve put this off long enough.”
He said Councillors Mark Way and Cathy Rice had also taken a keen interest in the matter and would like to see it resolved.