Council push back on Boambee Beach sand transfer plan

CITY of Coffs Harbour has expressed support for the NSW Government’s long-term plans to dredge sand from the harbour at the boat ramp and deposit it off Park Beach, but is opposing a request to pump the sand slurry onto Boambee Beach for up to two years in the interim.

The plans were outlined to Council in a letter from Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh.

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“City staff have previously raised concerns over using Boambee Beach to Transport for NSW and have made clear that the sand needs to be taken to Park Beach so that it can continue to drift north to replenish beaches further up the coastline,” said Andrew Beswick, City of Coffs Harbour’s Director Sustainable Infrastructure.

“Sand deposited on Boambee or Gallows Beaches will not be able to move around the harbour due to the currents and will invariably end up back inside the harbour over time.

“The adopted Coffs Harbour Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) identifies this issue and one of its actions is to work with the NSW Government to establish a regular program of dredging and replenishment of Park Beach.

“It’s important to be aware that the movement of sand in the coastal system can have significant environmental impacts if the activity is undertaken without thorough due diligence.

“The Coffs Harbour CZMP provides a thoroughly-researched framework to guide any such works, together with the approvals required from the relevant agencies.”

Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh said, “The design of the harbour leads to a lot more sand entering the harbour than is able to leave which results in a gradual build-up of sand.

“The harbour disrupts the natural northward movement of sand up the coast and acts to trap the sand inside the harbour.

“The Marine Infrastructure Delivery Office (MIDO) are working on medium to long term solutions and will conduct a sand extraction trial to alleviate issues at the boat ramp and in the harbour more generally.

“MIDO originally proposed that during the trial, sand could be pumped a short distance south rather than a much further distance north to Park Beach for the duration of the trial.

“Council have rejected that approach which means MIDO will have to continue with the option to pump the sand north to Park Beach which will require more pumping because the distance is greater.

“There were some concerns raised that the sand that would be pumped south could end up back in the harbour – to a small extent this might be true, but I understand MIDO had advice that this would be negligible compared to the natural movement of sand and would have little impact overall.”

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