Council backs beach restoration

SOUTH Gippsland Shire Council will lobby other authorities to consider replenishing the beach at Port Welshpool, after a call by residents.
Landowner Roger Harvey initiated a petition that received 581 signatures calling for council to support re-establishing a sandy beach between the rock wall and Long Jetty.
The beach was artificially created by dredge spoil resulting from works undertaken by Gippsland Ports to maintain Lewis Channel. Beneath the dredge spoil are mud flats.
The petition prayer said the lack of sand was unsightly and a significant drop in the sand level from the sea wall was dangerous and limited recreational use of the beach.
Council last Wednesday voted to ask Gippsland Ports and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning to consider opportunities to replenish the beach when planning for future dredging or improvements to the shipping channel.
A council report said dredging and transfer of spoil was subject to environmental approvals that were outside of council’s jurisdiction.
“The feasibility of providing a permanent sandy beach in this area would need to account for the effects of naturally occurring coastal processes and future impacts of sea level rise,” the report stated.
“It would need to consider any necessary infrastructure works required to protect the beach in perpetuity (i.e. groynes) and any recurrent maintenance costs required to protect the asset.
“Further consideration would need to be given to what impact that infrastructure would have on the adjacent coast line, coastal assets and natural occurring coastal processes.
“Given the particulars of the request and its proximity to the Corner Inlet RAMSAR wetlands this would likely require State and Federal environmental approvals. The costs associated with undertaking the necessary studies to investigate this would be considerable.”
The council report said a sandy beach would complement the Long Jetty development and dredging activities are periodically required to maintain Lewis Channel.
In a presentation to council last Wednesday, Mr Harvey supported the council officers’ recommendation, but suggested an additional recommendation: to request DELWP to provide a design and program to replenish the beach, including, but not limited to, the design and placement of groynes and sand deposits.
“The beach has significantly changed over the past 20 years, from a deep coverage that almost reached the seawall to the current depleted state, in which ugly and potentially contaminated silt from harbour dredging is evident,” Mr Harvey said.
“Moreover there is now a significant safety hazard posed by the large drop to the seabed level, now up to 1.8 metres.
“With the foreshore bike path and Long Jetty representing a fantastic termination point of the Great Southern Rail Trial, there has never been more focus on the opportunity for an improved recreational beach.”
Cr Jeremy Rich said any future dredging at Port Anthony could create spoil for the beach at Port Welshpool.
Cr Ray Argento suggested Mr Harvey see if a university wished to study tidal and sand movements within Corner Inlet as part of a broader study.

Missing beach: from left, Port Welshpool landowner Roger Harvey discusses his Bring Back the Beach petition with South Gippsland Shire councillors Jeremy Rich and Alyson Skinner last Wednesday.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=25548

Posted by on Jul 31 2018. Filed under Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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