Seawall ‘upgrade’ shapes as beauty barrier
Residents say a beach that was once home to a waterfront caravan park has been destroyed by a "hideous" seawall.
Construction is almost completed on the $1.3 million seawall at Mooloolaba beach as part of the first stage of Sunshine Coast Council's foreshore redevelopment.
But the multi-phase project touted to reinvigorate the tourism hotspot's main attraction has already left some residents "totally disappointed".
Mooloolaba woman Jenny Nixon said due to the size of the new seawall, and following recent storm events, there was no sand left on the beach.
"I think it's hideously ugly and dangerous," she said.
"If they're going to do that to prevent erosion they should have at least made it usable by covering it with grass."
The stretch of beach parallel to The Esplanade was once the location of a popular caravan park but was changed to a carpark in 2017.
"It was always so vibrant with the caravan park down here but now I think this is just going to be a useless space," Ms Nixon said.
"There's nothing to attach people to this area."
A council spokesman said the 295m seawall was designed by an experienced engineering company to withstand a 1 in 50-year storm event.
"(It) has already proved its worth during the January storm event which caused property destruction across the region," he said.
"The shape and slope of the new seawall will help reduce the loss of beach sand by dissipating wave energy upwards over the rocks, rather than back down into the sand."
Some people were glad work was being done to enhance the foreshore at one of the Coast's most popular beaches.
John and Marilyn Mapstone said they liked the idea and hoped once completed it would look similar to Coolum Beach's coastal walk.
"If that was the only beach in the area I'd think the same (about the appearance of the rock wall), but it's not," Mr Mapstone said.
But Mooloolaba real estate agent Kevin Annetts said the council did not illustrate the scale of the rock wall during community consultation.
"I have the brochures here … I'm looking at it now and I can't see a lot of rocks there but I can still see the palm trees."
Mr Annetts said he was disappointed by the changes to the beach and removal of several coconut palms.
"We had an iconic caravan park there with a beautiful beach," the long-term Alexandra Headland resident said.
"We were all concerned when we saw the amount of rocks and trucks and machinery there.
"We're all totally disappointed … that beach is part of our backyard."
Sunshine Coast councillor Joe Natoli said complaints about the look of the new seawall and the consultation process were warranted.
"What council went out to the community with in terms of images didn't reflect the appearance of the rocks as they are now as the seawall," he said.
Cr Natoli has questioned the design of the seawall and if it could be covered by sand or vegetation.
"They're returning the old caravan park back to the community and there will be some lovely aspects … but that beach was very special to a lot of people," Cr Natoli said.
"It feels like council has destroyed it.
"It has encroached into that beach … the fact is there is no beach there at the moment.
"I still have a lot of questions to ask to get some understanding of why we have ended up with this situation."
The council spokesman said completely covering the wall with sand would be "a considerable logistical exercise and financial cost".
But he said due to naturally occurring erosion and sand replenishment that over time there would be "partial coverage" of the rocks.
He said the old seawall at the beach collapsed over time and was covered by pest plant Singapore Daisy that had to be removed.
The council said the seawall would help protect the new parklands also being developed as part of the $11 million project.
They said the parkland would include 50 new trees, more than 1000 plants and community facilities such as a boardwalk, amenities block, viewing platforms and barbecue areas.
"Landscaping above the rock wall will soften the seawall's appearance as native species establish, along with opportunistic regeneration occurring naturally in the seawall cavities," the spokesman said.