The North West coast is a very dynamic and environmentally sensitive environment. The marine landscape and the tidal region in particular are continually changing and this is most noticeable with the rising and falling sand levels which adversely affect the use of the beaches and any fixed infrastructure eg stairs, revetment walls, pedestrian ramps, beach accesses, boat ramps etc..
Over time, sand levels usually return to what could be termed as “normal” levels although there are instances such as in 2016 where the levels only started to return to the “normal” levels after 12 to 18 months. Unfortunately, this continually changing level in sand often assists or causes severe damage to seawalls and beach escarpments.
The iconic Penguin foreshore is no different and in the severe weather events in 2016 and 2018 large amounts of sand were transported away from the beach and into Bass Strait and sections of the existing seawall were either undermined or severely damaged and with beach access difficulties.
“Erosion” of the beach and adjoining greenbelt/coastal dune in the centre of Penguin was a major concern for the former Penguin Council and over the last 25 years for the Central Coast Council. The Councils constructed and extended reinforced concrete retaining walls in seriously affected beach areas during the time in an effort to reduce this “erosion” and with the recent damage to these walls as well as the further damage to the escarpment/dunes concerns as to the long term protection of the beach and dunes have been raised.
Damage to the existing (aged) concrete retaining wall on the western end of the beach has been temporarily repaired, but additional treatment of the area behind the wall to cope with increasing tide levels and more extreme storm events is now necessary. This will assist in the prevention of further damage and even loss of the wall and adjoining road in future severe weather events.
In early 2018, after monitoring the erosion and damage to the beach infrastructure for two years, Council determined that work was now required to protect both the beach and main street areas for future generations.
Unfortunately, the cost of projects necessary to deal with sea level rise in particular and predicted Climate Change effects in general in the Central Coast municipality is beyond the financial capacity of the Central Coast Council and its residents. Consequently, Council was successful in obtaining $6.5million from the Australian Government’s Community Development Grants program in 2019.
NEED MORE INFORMATION?
Mark Wisniewski, Assets Group Leader on (03) 6429 8976
Central Coast Council were successful in obtaining funding for the 6.5m Penguin Foreshore Remediation and Upgrade Project under the Australian Government’s Community Development Grants program.