Wamberal community says sand nourishment must stay on agenda

The Taskforce was formed after major storm damage to Wamberal Beach in July 2020

The Wamberal Beach Save Our Sand (SOS) group has accused the State Government and the Wamberal Seawall Advisory Taskforce of a lack of consideration for community concerns, following statements made at the Taskforce’s most recent meeting on October 14.

An SOS spokesperson said the group’s 3,500 members were “shocked and enraged” at a suggestion from Taskforce Chair, Phil Watson, that sand nourishment discussions should be removed as a standing item moving forward.

Central Coast Council Director Environment and Planning, Scott Cox, told the meeting Council was still interested in sand nourishment and would like to keep conversations ongoing.

Watson said in reply that several potential sand nourishment sources would continue to be pursued with the Taskforce to be updated on relevant developments.

But the suggestion of removing sand nourishment as a standing item on the Taskforce agenda concerned SOS, which fears seawall options are being favoured despite huge community concerns.

“Wamberal Beach SOS has a range of scientific reports, expert and physical evidence that prove seawalls undermine beaches,” a spokesperson said.

“The impact of seawalls is exacerbated and worsened when the hard structures are put into beach systems without a long-term source of sand that can help replenish the beach after major erosion events.

“Sand nourishment is a crucial aspect of this project, and regardless of (whether or not) a seawall is put in place, is essential to the long-term sustainability of the beach.

“Thankfully (the suggestion was quelled), ensuring that sand nourishment remains on the table.

“Nevertheless, it is scary to think the Chair of the Taskforce was open to removing such a critical aspect.

“The Chair also outlined in his minutes that, ‘a community group has made representations to members and (is) proposing to present an alternative option for consideration as part of a DA process’.

“The Chair described the representations as ‘exciting’ and ‘an opportunity to progress the implementation of protection works’.

“Wamberal Beach SOS (believes) the implementation of a solution to the erosion crisis at Wamberal through the process of lodging DAs will lead to a disjointed, understudied and misrepresentative outcome that will have adverse impacts on the beach.

“Moreover, it undermines the integrity of all CZMPs (Coastal Zone Management Plans).

“The ongoing endorsement of a seawall at Wamberal Beach by the State Government is extremely frustrating for a group that is backed by so many opposed to the solution.

“While the Chair has encouraged Central Coast Council to settle on a design option (for a seawall) and ‘proceed toward detailed design by years end’, Wamberal Beach SOS would like to again call on Central Coast Council and the State Government to listen to the authoritative independent advice and abide by the legislation, to ensure any destructive impacts that this wall may have on the beach do not occur.”

Terry Collins