How council will maintain heritage-listed ghost tunnel


Council will fund $80,000 for an engineering assessment and $20,000 for a landscape plan as part of its maintenance role for the Gold Coast’s largest and most loved heritage-listed site.The 114m long tunnel built between 1885 and 1889 for the original Brisbane-South Coast line was one of the first in Queensland to be lined with concrete rather than bricks.Musicians play there regularly due to the rare acoustics, and other recent visitors included a paranormal group given the tunnel’s reputation for being haunted and home for ghosts.Area councillor Ryan Bayldon-Lumsden said the investigation would also look at “public art” on the walls and whether it will “impact on the structural integrity of the tunnel”.NED-2822-GCB-APP“The $100,000 is a one off for the investigation, and it will work out where funding will be needed to look after it. It helps that we have a great community group involved here,” he said.Ernest Junction Tunnel Friends group leader Judith DeBoer said an earlier investigation by Steele Engineering showed the integrity of the structure remains intact“It is carved out of solid rock. The place is incredibly strong. We’re absolutely thrilled to bits with how our council is dealing with this (long term management plan),” she said.A report to council said the tunnel’s concrete lining has been impacted by graffiti despite the group working extensively with clean-ups and consultation to reduce the impacts.City officers gained approval from State heritage officers to trial a technique using dry ice pellets to remove the paint whilst limiting damage to the tunnel’s concrete lining.The new investigation will focus on the current surface drainage above the tunnel, and redirecting subterranean water flows from penetrating and damaging the concrete lining. A landscape plan was needed to improve the park’s presentation and handle increased visitors to the popular heritage site.“Geotechnical assessments have identified the potential for rockfall along the cuttings that line the old train line as it approaches either side of the tunnel entrances,” the report said.Monitoring after weather events will continue to ensure safe access to the tunnel by visitors.NED-3269 Gold Coast Download Newsletter BannerMs DeBoer said the tunnel was attracting artists, photographers and musicians and had gained a reputation for its acoustics. Film crews are asking for access to work there.Artists had agreed to an informal code of conduct which included “no sexism or racism”.“We call them the tunnel artists. The place is so isolated. We knew there was no way it could be stopped. There’s a feeling of respect that has happened and what they were doing was valued. The creative work that’s going on there is incredible,” Ms DeBoer said.The council views the tunnel being part of a future urban rail trail cycleway linking Southport with the M1 motorway to the Health and Knowledge [email protected] follow Paul Weston

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