Shark barrier construction begins on North Coast beach
UPDATE 12.50pm: A HELICOPTER is hovering over Lennox Head dropping concrete blocks and steel anchors into the surf off Seven Mile Beach as part of the construction of the new shark barrier.
Beach goers have been warned to stay away from the work zone - with the roped off area manned by workers in high-vis vests and helmets, and an excavator.
A 1km stretch of the beach is closed off while the grass in front of the Lennox-Alstonville surf club has become a temporary headquarters for the project.
A group of onlookers are looking on from the surf club cafe, which remains open.
Despite a solid 1m swell breaking on Seven Mile Beach, Global Marine Enclosures director Ed Khoury said the job had progressed quicker than expected and the helicopter had managed to position all 12
concrete blocks by noon today.
The helicopter will do some more work this afternoon depositing steel anchors on the seabed, which will be positioned later.
The entire project is expected to take up to another two weeks, while the beach will reopen at 3.30pm today.
FRIDAY 5.30am: A HELICOPTER will be flying at low altitude over Seven Mile Beach this morning as part of the installation of the Lennox Head shark barrier.
A 1km stretch of the beach from just south of the Lennox Head Surf Club north to the dog beach entrance will close while the helicopter delivers twelve 2.5 tonne concrete blocks to designated points offshore.
The beach is scheduled to close for the duration of the operation between 9.30am and 3.30pm.
Edward Khoury, the director of the company responsible for the project Global Marine Enclosures, said the helicopter would use a sophisticated GPS system to position the blocks.
"They put a 360 prism just above the load and...they actually control the GPS positioning from the beach," Mr Khoury said.
"That will tell the helicopter pilot exactly where to drop the load."
Using a helicopter to drop the concrete blocks was actually a backup option after the original plan to "float" the blocks into position had to be aborted due to rough conditions.
"It's a lot more expensive but it is worth doing it this way," Mr Khoury said.
"Something that takes three or four days to do will literally take three hours."
When complete, the barrier will travel 250m out to sea, and will run 150m across the beach.
"Altogether there are 24 (blocks)," Mr Khoury said.
"We've already got 12 in and we're putting another 12 in tomorrow morning."
He predicted the barrier would be completed in about two weeks, weather dependent.