Residents at Lewisham in Tasmania’s south-east want urgent action on coastal erosion after a woman fell several metres and was taken to hospital.
Ronda Weidmann said the land gave way underneath her on Monday morning and she went to Hobart’s Calvary Hospital for treatment.
Ms Weidmann, who had been visiting a friend, spent the day in the emergency department and required several X-rays.
She said she was lucky to escape without any broken bones, especially given she recently had a hip replacement.
“I was not on the on the edge of the shoreline because I know the problem — I was quite a way back — and suddenly the whole ground went under me and threw me down about four metres,” she said.
“I ended up in all these dead trees and big branches.
“It was a terrible experience. I think my hip is alright but I’m bruised all over on the right side, from the neck down to the ankle — my knee, the whole lot.”
Residents formed a group about four years ago in an effort to find a solution and pressure the state and local government for assistance.
Lewisham Foreshore Management Association member Valerie Reid described the area as a “death trap”.
“A lady went out to have a look at the view and she was a metre away from the edge of the pathway and it just collapsed and she rolled down onto the beach,” Ms Reid said.
“A great chunk of ground went down with her.”
Water has been lapping at the town’s steep foreshore, causing it to crumble away.
The erosion is putting shacks at risk, and is making a foreshore track dangerous and inaccessible in parts.
Ms Weidmann is concerned children could be next.
“It’s a nasty thing to happen to me, but had it been a little child they could have been killed,” she said.
“Four metres is quiet a big fall.”
Ms Reid said it was the exact scenario local residents feared would happen.
“It looks safe when you’re at the top, but when you walk along the beach you can see that it’s a death trap,” she said.
“I’d like something done quickly before there is a really, really bad accident.”
Rhonda Wiedman says she was about one metre away from the edge of the pathway when it collapsed. (ABC News)
About a year ago, the Government agreed to a timeline of consultations and planned to meet with residents about the issue.
Labor also chimed in, calling for money to be allocated in the budget to fix the problem.
In response to the incident, Labor leader Rebecca White said a Labor government would commit to spending $150,000 on immediate remediation works.
“It’s extremely concerning that an accident has occurred,” she said.
“The Government must explain what action it has taken after it was given an explicit warning by residents 12 months ago. [Minister] Rene Hidding has had a long time to address this issue.”
In a statement, Mr Hidding said the Government had allocated $100,000 for sand scraping works but it had been delayed because of conservation concerns about aquatic life.
A contractor has been engaged to complete an aquatic survey by March 9.
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