NEWS Of The Area was invited to check out first hand, the new $4.1 million Sand Transfer System which comes on line this month to replenish the sand on Jimmy’s Beach.
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30 years of erosion and a number of huge storms have taken their toll on Jimmy’s.
The system, jointly funded by MidCoast Council, the Office of Environment and Heritage and Crown Lands has taken 8 months to construct and is the first of its kind to be built along the NSW coast.
“There are 10 discharge stations, seven along The Boulevard and three on the other side of Barnes Rock, which are there as a protection for the pump station,” MidCoast Council Coastal Management Coordinator Andrew Staniland told News Of The Area.
The series of big black pipes and pumping station, do little to enhance the environment, but MidCoast Council is confident the system will provide a buffer.
“In the case of a super storm there’s not much we can do, this system is not designed to stop erosion, it’s aim is to make a buffer, give the ocean something to chew at, instead of chewing out the road,” Mr Staniland said.
The plan is to pump 10 thousand cubic metres of sand and water onto Jimmy’s from the various discharge outlets, twice a year.
The sand will come from the Winda Woppa stockpile, Council estimating there’s enough sand to run a couple of campaigns.
“The angle of the beach will stay the same over the first couple of sand transfer campaigns, but over time, it’s hoped the width and steep gradient of the beach will be addressed,” Mr Staniland said.
Sand for the stockpile has come from Council’s dredging program across Port Stephens and the Great Lakes, but the next scheduled dredging of the navigational channel is at least two years away.
The Myall River Action Group has been lobbying all levels of Government for ongoing dredging of the natural entrance of the Myall River, also known as the Short Cut.
“One of the problems we have is that the Short Cut is not a designated navigational channel,” MRAG’S Gordon Grainer said.
“I don’t think we can last another two years before we go back to the days where we had very low salinity and diseased fish.”
The Jimmy’s Beach Preservation Association has welcomed the sand transfer system, “We have worked closely with MidCoast Council and strongly support the project,” Richard Streamer said.
“The system is the most suitable and economical solution to the erosion on Jimmy’s Beach,” Mr Streamer added.
It’s estimated the sand transfer system will cost $200,000 a year to run, a third of the cost of trucking sand onto Jimmy’s.
The twice yearly campaigns are expected to take place around April and before September, timed to miss the migration of the ‘Little Terns’ to the area.
By: Margie TIERNEY