Man vs Ocean

Photo: Klayte McSweeny, Photoslog

Residents from 18 beachfront homes at Wamberal remain locked out of their properties as the State Government and Central Coast Council install emergency measures to prevent even more erosion after heavy seas battered the coastline last week.

State-appointed Local Recovery Coordinator, Lee Shearer, has been assigned the task of working with the community on recovery.

For Julius and Karen Huszarek, the past week has been something of a nightmare.

Evacuated from their Wamberal home on Monday, along with many of their neighbours, the couple are staying with friends at Terrigal as Central Coast Council works in partnership with the State Government to stabilise the sand dunes in front of their home.

“Our home didn’t sustain as much damage as a lot of others,” Julius Huszarek said.

“We are on the northern end of the beach, partially on rocks, but the property next door has been undermined and is pulling down our timber deck slowly.”

He said he was at a meeting receiving an update on Monday morning and by noon he had been told he would need to evacuate.

“It was a bit of a schemozzle,” he said.

“We were given two hours on Monday and on Tuesday to remove as much of our belongings as we could, and police were on hand to make sure everyone moved out.

Julius and Karen Huszarek

“The next day the water and power was cut off, barricades were up, and the homes were off limits.”

Huszarek said residents had been told they could be out of their homes for 1-4 weeks.

“The situation seems to change daily,” he said.

“There is some talk of us being back in by Monday but another big storm is predicted in coming days so we will have to wait and see.”

Huszarek said a majority of residents were angry at Council.

“I joined a working group around 18 months ago, but it was really just a talk fest and hasn’t even met since December,” he said.

“I am also a member of the Wamberal Protection Association and we are angry that Council has had plenty of opportunity over the years to do something about this situation, but bureaucracy has been stalling everything.

“They have spent around $400,000 to get various geo-technical reports, which had already been done years ago, and even though they knew we were one step away from disaster they turned a deaf ear.

“The State Government has said there is money available to effect a solution, but Council hasn’t even attempted to apply for this money.”

Huszarek hit back at some claims on social media that many of the affected homeowners had built or extended their homes against the advice of Council, with some successfully appealing Council refusals in the Land and Environment Court.

“I believe this involves a minority,” he said.

“I have talked to around two-thirds of the affected residents and they are all prepared to pay for a seawall.

“Some residents did get permission to build a wall in front of their homes, but the conditions were so onerous they gave up.”

Terry Collins

READ MORE HERE : 1. Calls to declare Wamberal Beach erosion a natural disaster 2. Authorities mull engineering options for Wamberal Beach