Council proceeds with seawall options for Wamberal

Design requirements for seawall options at Wamberal are on public exhibition

Environmental and community groups have slammed a decision by Central Coast Council to forge ahead with seawall options as a solution to ongoing beach erosion at Wamberal.

Administrator, Rik Hart, has adopted the recommendations of Manly Hydraulics Laboratory, with the Draft Wamberal Beach Terminal Protection Structure Engineering Design Requirements on public exhibition until July 27.

The requirements address key criteria such as engineering, landscaping, environmental and maintenance requirements of property owners and pave the way for homeowners to lodge development applications for seawall construction.

Council Director Environment and Planning, Alice Howe, said the milestone follows on from the completion of Wamberal Beach Terminal Protection and Sand Nourishment Investigation project, which identified preferred designs for the protection works.

“The review of expert technical studies, extensive community consultation and consideration of Council’s role in relation to coastal erosion led to the identification of specific criteria for the preferred seawall design,” Howe said.

“These requirements reflect what the community told us was important in feedback received throughout the three phases of community consultation conducted over the past two years.”

Council Administrator, Rik Hart, said there are a number of properties along Wamberal Beach foreshore that are impacted by beach erosion which need permanent solutions.

“Property owners are able to seek development consent to undertake work to protect their assets, however, works must not negatively impact beach access, public amenity, neighbouring properties and the health of our coastlines,” he said.

“Community consultation has been an integral part of the process to identify long-term solutions to this issue and I encourage ongoing community participation now that the draft requirements are on public exhibition.

“The community will continue to have opportunities to provide comment before any work is undertaken.

“Any development application for a section of seawall at Wamberal Beach will be placed on public exhibition, providing the public with opportunity to comment on the detailed design drawings, environmental impact assessments, construction programs and maintenance plans.”

The Central Coast Branch of the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) however said it was “appalled” at the decision.

“Seawalls provide a false sense of security to property owners who should not be encouraged to buy uninsurable properties in high-risk locations with increasing sea level rise and storm surges,” a spokesperson said.

“Seawalls do not stop coastal erosion, and they severely impact the ecological integrity of the beach and its many processes.

“We support the implementation of a nature-based system of coastal protections which has many more benefits than a climate destructive concrete wall … manufacturing 1 cubic metre of concrete produces over 180 kilos of carbon dioxide.”

The ACF says benefits of implementation of nature-based solutions include the ability of the dunal system to move naturally, reduced financial cost of maintenance and ongoing renourishment, increased tourism and reduced environmental impact.

Group secretary Norm Harris said many questions remain unanswered as to why the previous cost benefit analysis was replaced, and all options for coastal management were not put on the table this time around.

“If democratically elected representatives formed the Council, genuine representation of the people of the Wamberal and the Greater Central Coast community would have been heard, and there would be most likely a different outcome,” he said.

Community Environment Network Chair, Gary Chestnut, said he was disappointed because he can’t understand why the revetment walls are to be on private land.

“It seems illogical to me,” he said.

“The five options previously looked at were vertical structures and that creates problems to my mind.

“Water is pushed back and takes the sand away which means for a period of time there will be no beach.

“Why didn’t Council consider the design originally put forward by the former Gosford Council some years ago for a sloping structure, which would cause the wave energy to fall back on itself so you don’t have the deep scouring and the sand comes back more quickly?

Wamberal Save Our Sand (SOS) said the latest development goes against community wishes and the science that shows sea walls destroy beaches.

 “The fight for our beach is only just beginning,” spokesperson Hugh Naven said.

“To help protect the beach we will be pushing to enforce the legislation that is supposed to preserve the amenities of the beach and the object of the NSW coastal legislation, which is ‘to protect and enhance natural coastal processes and coastal environmental values including natural character, scenic value, biological diversity and ecosystem integrity and resilience’.

“From here on, we will need as many people (as possible) opposing submissions for private seawalls at Wamberal to ensure our beach remains.”

Following the public exhibition period, the final Design Requirements will be presented to Council for adoption and then used in conjunction with the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, Coastal Management Act 2016 and Resilience and Hazards SEPP 2021 during development application assessments.

You can have your say on the draft Wamberal Beach Terminal Protection Structure Engineering Design Requirements between until July 27 at

Terry Collins

2 Comments on "Council proceeds with seawall options for Wamberal"

  1. Brian Dickinson | July 1, 2022 at 8:06 pm |

    Who ever fought against nature & won. Work with nature or lose. Those who choose to build on the sand…..

  2. Any structural wall on Wamberal Beach is not acceptable, it should be a nature based solution. I hope the community resist this

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