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Achilles Bay repair plans halted by technical problems

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Work to improve public access to Achilles Bay has been pushed back due to technical challenges (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Work to improve access to a St George’s beach continues after a series of unforeseen challenges, but the public can still visit the area.

Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, said that works at Achilles Bay were intended to be completed last summer, but “geological and planning challenges” had forced plans to be reconsidered.

Colonel Burch added: “With the summer rapidly approaching, the public will still have access to Achilles Bay through temporary measures while repairs to enhance accessibility continue.”

A planning application to repair damaged stairs leading to the beach was first submitted in 2022.

The older staircase was described in planning documents as a “significant risk to public safety” with the stairs and dock showing signs of “major structural failure”.

It was later announced that the Ministry partnered with Smith Hauling and Excavating to commence repair works, with the project expected to take 11 weeks and cost almost $117,000.

However, it was later announced that the project had been delayed due to unexpected technical challenges.

The storm-damaged steps that led to Achilles Bay (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

A ministry spokesman said: “Early excavation work revealed that the anticipated solid rock foundation necessary for constructing new stairs was absent, leading to a necessary halt and redesign of the project.

“This finding and additional complexities involving land use and tenant proposals have required the Ministry to navigate a series of detailed and technical reassessments.

“Despite these challenges, the ministry has remained focused on restoring and improving public access to Achilles Bay.

“After substantial dialogue with the Corporation of St George's, area MPs and land tenants, a new staircase site has been agreed upon. This third proposed location offers a viable solution for permanent public access.”

As the project moves forward, the spokesman said the ministry will finalise the in-principle design, submit a revised planning application and put the project out to tender before construction begins.

Temporary access to Achilles Bay will be provided until the permanent structure is completed.

The spokesman added: “The Ministry of Public Works appreciates the public's patience and support as it continues to work towards a solution that ensures safety and enhances the enjoyment of Achilles Bay for all.”

Work to improve public access to Achilles Bay has been pushed back due to technical challenges (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published May 19, 2024 at 11:00 am (Updated May 19, 2024 at 5:11 pm)

Achilles Bay repair plans halted by technical problems

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