CLIMATE change, weather and previous changes to the coastline are all playing a part in the erosion at Stockton Beach.
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The beach is one of the hardest hit areas of coastline with locals concerned about their residences and the future of the beach.
Previous sandbagging and replacing the sand on the beach to prevent further erosion has proved to be a fruitless exercise with rough seas continuing to erode the shoreline.
Over the past weekend the City of Newcastle took precautionary actions ahead of predicted large ocean swells and high tides with heavy rainfall predicted for the weekend.
The east coast low like conditions and a predicted 2-metre high tide on Sunday increased the likelihood of erosion at Stockton Beach, and potentially created more dangerous conditions for coastal activities.
The City of Newcastle undertook proactive reinforcement of the sand-bag wall at north Stockton near Griffith Street and Stone Street using additional one-tonne sandbags prior to the weekend weather event.
Newcastle City Council identifies climate change, urban development and erosion as just some of the issues facing the coastline.
Every coastal council in NSW including Port Stephens, and Newcastle City Councils are required to prepare a Coastal Management Program (CMP) under NSW Government legislation, with a scoping study mandated as part of completing the process.
Newcastle’s CMP ranges across the coastline from Glenrock to Stockton Beach, while also accounting for the lower part of the Hunter River estuary.
Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said that while results of the study may come as little surprise to many residents, it was an important and mandated step in developing a long-term plan to manage our coastline.
“The Coastal Management Program will give us the approval we need from the NSW Government to implement long-term management actions for our coastal areas, including Stockton Beach, which is at immediate high risk from erosion,” Cr Nelmes said.
“While NSW Government legislation dictates that Local Government Coastal Management Programs should be completed by 31 December 2021, we’re working to have ours ready 12 months earlier.
“Unsurprisingly, the highest and most immediate risk identified through the scoping study is erosion and shoreline recession at Stockton Beach, however there are multiple other considerations including inundation within the Throsby Creek catchment and pollution in the Hunter River.
“The Coastal Management Program process has formal steps to complete, and now we’ve finished the scoping study we’re undertaking more detailed research under stage two before working with the community and stakeholders on management options in stage three.
“We need to be planning and making decisions today to address the varied risks posed by climate change, erosion and a growing population on our coastline.”
The CMO will consider the environmental, social, cultural and economic impacts of threats affecting the coastline through to the year 2100.
Council’s Director of Infrastructure and Property Ken Liddell said, “In the meantime, with the immediate risks affecting Stockton, we’re continuing to implement short-to-medium term actions as permitted under our existing State Government approval and are reviewing the results of our sand nourishment project before progressing the next stage.”
City of Newcastle is expecting to commence community engagement on the CMP mid-2020.
By Marian SAMPSON