Beach erosion control begins
BYRON Shire Council's controversial beach scraping project at New Brighton got under way yesterday.
Peter Withey, from the New Brighton Beachfront Action Group, said there remained considerable opposition to beach scraping.
But he blamed a lack of official objections to the scheme on short notice from the council, saying residents had only been notified of the official go-ahead on Monday.
“We believe the council is in breach, as we haven't been given adequate time to object,” he said.
“The 2009 environmental impact assessment warned that if state and federal funding was approved, a third party could contest it in court and advised council to consider that risk before moving forward.
“We believed they should have given us 28 days to object.”
Mr Withey questioned the effectiveness of beach scraping and claims it will destroy his beachfront lifestyle.
“Our continued objection is they are going to raise the dune from two metres, up to seven metres, then fence it off, denying us access to the beach,” he said.
Council planning manager Ray Darney said the project was fast-tracked to minimise any impact on the migratory bird season.
Andrew Hall, from the New Brighton Village Association, said beach scraping had been extremely successful through the extreme erosion of the late 1970s and, although stopped in the early 1990s, was responsible for the substantial dunes that had protected beachfront property up until the intense winter storms last year.
“I've been working for 15 years to get (beach scraping) going again and we are absolutely delighted to see it under way,” he said.
The trial beach scraping project, which involves taking sand from the low tide line and moving it up to the dune area to protect houses and roads, is expected to run until September 30.
The council's coastal officer, Ben Fitzgibbon, said beach scraping could speed up dune rebuilding if undertaken after erosion.
However, it was not necessarily a long-term solution to address shoreline erosion on a receding coastline.
He added the works would include daily inspections by an ecologist to assess the effect on wildlife and supervision by a coastal engineer during the first two days.
The works were given a green light following the approval of an $87,200 grant from the Natural Disaster Resilience Grants Program. Byron Shire Council chipped in the remaining $73,000.