Thursday, August 25, 2011

Sandbag strategy leaves an Australian beach's future living on the edge

Kelsey Munro in the Sydney Morning Herald: Emergency work to prevent further coastal erosion at the northern NSW town of Kingscliff has been stalled by red tape, with council staff warning many more seaside communities will face the same problem unless the complex coastal protection laws are streamlined.

Kingscliff has lost an estimated 40 metres of beach to the sea in less than two months, leaving the surf club and cabins at a caravan park dangling at the edge of the water. But protection works must stop by Friday because NSW legislation requires the council to go through a public tender process to procure more sandbags.

The council-owned Kingscliff Beach Holiday Park has already spent $800,000 on temporary protection works, and is building a four metre-high sandbag wall along the most damaged sections of beach. Phase two, for which they have environmental approval, requires larger, more durable sandbags but the council must cease work for at least a week for the procurement process.

Richard Adams, who runs the park for Tweed Shire, said the situation was ''frustrating''. ''In an emergency event like this, where clearly there is an extenuating circumstance, it would be great if we could go to the government and say let's look at some way to relieve us from some of the more protracted planning consent and procurement issues,'' he said....

A view of the Cocked Hat Rocks at Broken Head (NSW, Australia)

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