Wooli’s first beach scraping project is complete and so far looks like a resounding success. Not only was it finished within budget and on time, but it also added 40% more sand to the dunes than was expected. The low tide area of the beach recovered very quickly and no environmental or heritage damage was done. In addition, new sand-traps were installed and the first stage of replanting completed (see photo). The most at-risk part of the village, the southernmost 800 metres, is now well protected from the next 1-in-20-years storm.
But the question remains, “what about even bigger storms”?
Our most recent expert advice, the Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) 2018, recommends the at-risk dunes be nourished with 60,000 cubic metres of sand to provide the best protection from a 1-in-50-years storm. The CZMP also recommends this sand be sourced from the Wilsons Headland end of the beach supplemented by further local beach scraping. Council is continuing to progress the CZMP through various state government departments, Native Title and its own budget process. However, we should expect that to secure the necessary funding ($2m) and licences to implement the Wilsons Headland Nourishment project will take years, not months, to achieve.
This would add enough sand for the dune to withstand a 1-in-30-years storm and would get us 50% of the way to the target of 60,000 cubic metres described above.
Repeated scraping has several major advantages: it has a history of success (New Brighton has done 3 now), is relatively inexpensive compared to Nourishment, involves no major licensing issues and is rapidly achievable. It could be completed by mid-2020 if we start preparing now.
We suggest this approach:
1. CCPA to write to Council proposing a second beach scraping project to be completed in 2020 and funded as per the first project, ie. $50,000 from the State government and $25,000 each from CCPA and Council.
2. CCPA to commence raising $25,000 as soon possible, subject to positive feedback from Council and State.