Coastal researchers warn that unless urgent beach protection works are carried out, more multi-million dollar Gold Coast homes could collapse into the sea.
As homes in Collaroy, Sydney, have been smashed by huge seas this week, Gold Coast coastal management researcher Naomi Edwards said the proposed $20 million Palm Beach artificial reef must go head.
Owners of beachfront blocks along Jefferson Lane said last weekend’s storm ripped more than a metre of sand from their properties as waves burst over rock walls and into back yards.
Ms Edwards said the reef was needed to avoid a multi-million dollar catastrophe.
“It’s a timely reminder for the Gold Coast,” she said.
“We could see what happened down in Sydney happen here. They need to get on with it and build it.
“We need every grain of sand to help build up the beach and dunes.”
Beachfront homeowner Ray Wilkie, 76, said something needed to be done to stop his back yard constantly being ripped out to sea.
“I think a reef out there (in the ocean) would be the cheapest thing to do,” Mr Wilkie said.
“What else can we do?
“Another groyne won’t make a difference.”
He said about 12m of his block had been eroded over the years.
“The erosion is no good for the Nippers as well, because there’s no beach for them to use,” Mr Wilkie said.
“Sometimes they have to use our front yards.
“We pay rates on it but really it’s public land.”
Further down the street Leonie Clarke, 70, has lived on the beach for 16 years and said the council had done nothing to protect her home in that time.
“The rock walls we’ve put in front of our homes are the only thing that’s saved us,” Mrs Clarke said.
“Think about every house on this street that pays $10,000 for rates each year. We haven’t heard much from council.
“No one comes near us — it’s up to us.
“The floodwater has come through our house before but with this storm we lost about a metre of sand from in front of our house.”
Palm Beach Surf Life Saving Club treasurer Scott Rowlings said he remembered running over several sand dunes to get to the surf before storms in 1967 and 1974 smashed the beach.
He said the 50,000 cubic metres pumped out of Currumbin Creek and on to Palm Beach once a year was not a full solution.
“It will be a good move forward to put something out there,” Mr Rowlings said. “Then our Nippers will have more beach where they can do their activities.”
Ms Edwards, who has worked with both the Gold Coast Catchment Association and the Griffith Centre for Coastal Management, said the proposed Palm Beach reef would be state-of-the-art.
“The Palm Beach reef is one of the most heavily researched artificial reefs of its kind in the world and it’s being looked at by some of the best coastal researchers,” Ms Edwards said.
“People just need to make a decision.”
The city council is due to discuss the reef next week as part of its 2016-17 Budget planning.
Original article published at www.goldcoastbulletin.com.au by Nicholas McElroy 8/6/16