Calls to halt erosion as 9m of beach lost

EROSION IMPACT: Woodgate Beach and Theodolite Creek Recreational Users Association secretary Rob James and the group are very concerned with the erosion at Woodgate Beach, safety fears being of paramount concern. Photo taken on Monday, 6 October 2014. Photo: Max Fleet / NewsMail
EROSION IMPACT: Woodgate Beach and Theodolite Creek Recreational Users Association secretary Rob James and the group are very concerned with the erosion at Woodgate Beach, safety fears being of paramount concern. Photo taken on Monday, 6 October 2014. Photo: Max Fleet / NewsMail Max Fleet

A COMMUNITY group is hoping erosion works at Woodgate Beach can begin in earnest having already lost up to 9m in some areas on the foreshore reserve.

Woodgate Beach and Theodolite Creek Recreational Users Association acting secretary Neil Zahner said the group wrote to the Bundaberg Regional Council in February regarding its concerns about the state of dunes at Woodgate beach ahead of a potentially damaging summer season.

The beach has had ongoing erosion issues since ex-tropical cyclone Oswald in 2013 which were then compounded earlier this year with king tides hitting the region.

Mr Zahner said erosion mitigation would come at the cost of $35,000 and in the form of sand scraping - a process involving shifting sand from below the high water mark up into the eroded dunes.

"In June we were advised that the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) had not approved the process and put certain conditions on it," he said.

"The department had a phone hook-up and informed us that council infrastructure was not under any imminent threat from erosion regarding any more bad weather

"They put a set of conditions on council whereby they have to get engineers drawings and certificates for the dunes to be shaped at the right slope and soil testing to make sure the sand being used was adequate for what needed to be done."

An EHP spokeswoman said it was unable to provide comment by close of business yesterday as information that was required was in departmental records that were unable to be retrieved.

Mr Zahner said he hoped upon approval, the council would start mitigation work this year and do the final push next winter when the region had better tides.

Woodgate divisional representative councillor Tony Ricciardi said the work was delayed after a government environment officer inspected the site and informed council officers it didn't qualify under the emergency works under Section 585 of the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 which allowed tidal works to be constructed without a development approval in an emergency.

"So we engaged Insite SJC to do the planning application and we also engaged GHD to do the engineering work towards it," he said.

"It has been submitted to council's planning department and hopefully within a fortnight we should get approval."

Mr Zahner said it had received an invitation to speak with the relevant minister about the issue at the State Government's community cabinet meeting in Bundaberg in two weeks.

Topics:  erosion woodgate beach

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