Revetment wall at Wamberal approved

An example of the erosion and damage caused to property at Wamberal in the June 2016 storm

As one NSW Government agency concludes that the building of a revetment wall to protect beachfront private property at Wamberal may not be viable, the state’s Land and Environment Court (LEC) has ruled in favour of the building of such a revetment.

In the case of Eugene Marchese versus Central Coast Council, the LEC found in favour of Marchese. The development application, lodged by six landowners, was deemed to have been refused by the NSW Coastal Panel, which did not respond within the statutory period, allowing the applicants to refer the matter to the LEC. Following the June 2016 East Coast Low that caused substantial erosion at Wamberal, the six residents, whose properties are located south of The Ruins, in Ocean View Dve and Pacifi c St, lodged a development application to build a protective revetment wall between their land and the beach.

The NSW Coastal Panel was still the consent authority then, as the Central Coast Council’s Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) for the Gosford beaches had not been signed off by the NSW Government. The Coastal Panel did not assess the development application within the required time frame, so it was a ‘deemed refusal’. On that basis, the residents decided to appeal that deemed refusal in the Land and Environment Court (LEC). The properties that have been granted consent to build a revetment wall on their land to protect it from coastal hazards are located in Pacific St and Ocean View Dve, Wamberal. They will be required to sign a deed of indemnity before Central Coast Council issues a construction certifi cate enabling the development of the barrier to go ahead.

The landowners will have to revegetate and stabilise all areas disturbed by construction activities associated with their development, to prevent erosion. The conditions of consent also state that “If a wholeof-bay seawall solution is implemented for Wamberal Beach, as provided within the Gosford Beaches Coastal Zone Management Plan, dated April 3, 2017,… and the removal of the proposed works is required due to the incompatibility of the two designs, then, at that time, the seawall approved under this development consent must be removed at the cost of the registered properties of the land. “The registered proprietors of the land must ensure the continued maintenance and performance of the seawall.”

Advice in the consent document said: “Although Central Coast Council currently endorses the strategy of a revetment wall and associated sand nourishment maintenance for Wamberal Beach, the timing of the revetment wall construction is not certain, and depends upon the availability of fi nance. “Council is actively pursuing funding for the construction of the revetment wall and associated sand nourishment. “However, there is no guarantee as to when or if funding can be secured.” This statement appears to also be at odds with the conclusions drawn in the Cost Benefi ts Analysis produced for the NSW Offi ce of Environment and Heritage, which stated a revetment, without ongoing beach nourishment, could render Wamberal Beach unusable by 2064. The 20 metre rock revetment wall that has been approved for construction, has a geotextile base, then two layers of 400kg secondary armour basalt rock, then two layers (4 tonne) of primary armour basalt rock. The works will link to an existing revetment at 25 Pacifi c St in the south.

“It would be expected that this design would withstand at least a 50-year average recurrence Interval (ARI) storm event, over a 60-year design life,” according to the Statement of Environmental Effects submitted with the original development application. “Some maintenance of the revetment may be required after severe storms, but due to the nature of a rock revetment, catastrophic failure is highly unlikely, even if more severe events than the design event occur,” the SEE said. The cost of the work was estimated at $1.5m.

Source: DA52565/2017, Jul 3 Gosford DA Tracker, Central Coast Council

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