WHY A SEA WALL MUST NEVER BE A NOOSA OPTION
The Guardian has publicised an alarming report on coastal hazards. The report, prepared for the Insurance Council of Australia, predicted that ‘a growing number of exposed properties in Australia will become uninhabitable’ through coastal erosion and inundation.
It depicts serious damage to coastal homes along Collaroy Beach in Sydney's north and, most alarmingly, shows a concrete wall – 1.2 km long and 7 metres high – that was built to try to protect those homes from future erosion.
Brendan Donohoe from Surfrider Foundation - whose organisation has been fighting against the construction of a seawall for three decades - says that by building the vertical wall, the council is sacrificing the beach to protect private property.
For Noosa residents, the article has four warnings:
First, that such a wall is so imposing and ugly as to ruin the visual attraction of the beachside precinct.
Second, that the $25 million cost of the wall was borne mostly by home owners, but partly by the state government and the local council.
Third, that future tidal surges are likely to sweep away the sand on the seaward side of the wall, effectively destroying the beach and the tourism industry that relies on it.
Fourth, that the cost and dubious effectiveness of such walls suggests that ‘a planned retreat from coastal hazard zones may be the best long-term community option’.
These four points add an ominous and timely element to the ongoing debates about Noosa Council’s Coastal Hazards Adaptation Plan (CHAP).
In its submission to the CHAP public consultation, PBCA argued strongly against a ‘sea wall’ strategy.
In our view, the building of a sea wall to protect houses which probably should not have been approved in an erosion prone area would be a massive mistake to correct a previous planning mistake.
Our view is, and always has been, that dune protection, supporting native vegetation and public education must remain the principal focus of our efforts.