Almost $1 million will be spent to tackle beach erosion

A recent Central Coast Council photograph of high tide at Ocean Beach

Central Coast Council will put in nearly $500,000 to match a NSW Government grant to tackle beach erosion at Ocean and Umina Beaches. Council director Mr Mike Dowling said that the rate of erosion was drastically exacerbated in April 2015 during a significant coastal storm.

“This new funding will enable us to identify a long-term protective option for The Esplanade and the vital infrastructure located in it including water and drainage systems and electricity and telecommunications services. “It will also investigate the feasibility of beach nourishment by understanding the complex sediment transport system within Broken Bay.” The funding received will allow the first two phases of a larger project to go ahead, this includes an analysis of the coastal processes and sediment dynamics for Broken Bay, options to improve beach access and amenities, the risks associated with vertical erosion scarps and the development of a long-term solution for protecting The Esplanade. “Council has a short-term strategy in place to protect The Esplanade, as a result of the storm in April 2015,” he said.

“This includes the ongoing beach monitoring program, a temporary wall covering over 100 metres of beach and an ongoing beach scraping program that brings available sand further up the beach.” Mayor Cr Jane Smith said the funding strengthened Council’s commitment to improving environmental and community assets and providing a safe environment for the community. “This funding will provide for the development of concept designs to address public safety due to steep erosion escarpments, beach and windblown dune erosion, dune ecology and general amenity at Ocean and Umina Beaches,” she said. “The design will consider improved pedestrian access to the beach and The Esplanade helping ensure our community can stay safely connected to their local environment. “This type of funding is important for Council, as it allows us to research the local environment and the way it works, and then design the best possible outcomes for everyone.”

The Peninsula Chamber of Commerce welcomed the funding announcement. “This is welcome news even if it is long overdue,” said Chamber president Mr Matthew Wales. “The $500,000 of matching State Government and Council funding is at least a start in correcting the massive erosion that has occurred between Ettalong Point and the Ocean Beach Surf Club,” Mr Wales said. “Even though this is only a short-term solution, we strongly encourage the Council to move quickly with the required studies and repair works before the erosion and vertical scarps become worse,” he said. “We understand that studies have to be undertaken, but we don’t want to see massive amounts of funds spent on paperwork when we need action on the ground. “There is a lot of concern in the community over the safety risk the erosion is causing along the beach escarpment and the lack beach access particularly for people with disabilities. “Ultimately we see the restoration of Ocean Beach and Umina Beach tied in with the dredging of the Ettalong Beach Channel through a sand renourishment process. “Now more than ever before, it is essential that the NSW Government approve the recent Council funding application for the dredging and let Council get on with the job,” Mr Wales said.

SOURCE: Media release, 29 Jan 2018 Mike Dowling, Central Coast Council Media release, 29 Jan 2018 Matthew Wales, Peninsula Chamber of Commerce

This article appeared first in the Peninsula News, February 12, 2018