More sand for beach ‘waste of resources’

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ROSEBUD PIER PRECINCT SANDBAGS 11-12-2014 (CMYK) BY YANNI 02 used 140415

Sand plan: Residents can find out about proposed renourishment of Rosebud beach near the pier during an information session later this month. Picture: Yanni

A STATE government plan to bring more sand to Rosebud Beach near the pier is a waste of time and resources as it will disappear like it did five years ago, says Port Phillip Conservation Council.

The so-called “beach renourishment” has been proposed by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (formerly DPI and before that DSE) and it is inviting residents to an information session later this month.

Kelly Crosthwaite, DELWP’s regional director Port Phillip, says the beach has “depleted over time and will be widened between the pier and cluster of stormwater drains about 170 metres west of the pier”.

“It is also proposed that three timber groynes be constructed on the beach to hold the sand in place. DELWP is working with Mornington Peninsula Shire and a coastal engineer, and will hold an information session so people can meet the project team,” she said.

But the conservation council says government contractors placed sand on the beach and built a sandbag wall almost five years ago at a cost of $250,000 but the sand disappeared.

The work was to repair damage done in April 2009 when storms and high tides blasted the beach as well as others around Port Phillip.

At the time, the environment department said the work would create a beach 160 metres long by 10 metres wide. The sandbag wall remains.

The sand plan is connected to shire plans to spend $2.25 million on the Jetty Rd foreshore precinct including a boardwalk on top of the sandbags and stormwater outlets.

The shire wants Jetty Rd to be a “shared street” for cars and pedestrians, and have an “outdoor dining precinct”.

Other works will include a new play area, “public plaza and pier forecourt and waterfront deck”, promenade, paths, fitness stations, sprint track, “event servicing place” and one “timber groyne along the pier to protect the beach” (now three groynes).

Len Warfe of the conservation council said he was against “any further commercialisation of Jetty Rd by the creation of the plaza” as it would “further increase traffic in this already busy area”.

“We oppose the proposed timber boardwalk on top of the sandbags and the proposed ‘waterfront’ deck on top of stormwater pipes. The sandbag wall has done nothing to restore the beach, despite claims by the environment department,” he said.

“The beach never reappeared but the expensive sandbags are still there with water lapping against them most of the time. To build a boardwalk on top of this failed exercise will be another failed exercise and only adds to the underlying issue of piecemeal failed mitigation works over many years and the threats posed by inevitable sea level rise.

“In this high-maintenance seaside location, the area will inevitably deteriorate into an even bigger eyesore than it currently is and demand massive ongoing maintenance expenditure – something councils and governments increasingly have trouble committing to.”

He said there was ample evidence groynes interrupt natural coastal processes and will fail. “An excellent example is at the site in question – the stormwater pipes acts as a groyne, trapping sand to the west and depleting sand to the east where the sandbag wall was built in 2010. Similar examples of groynes failing to perform as beach stabilisers exist around Port Phillip.”

Kelly Crosthwaite said “beaches are a naturally dynamic environment and coastal erosion is a process impacting beaches around the world”.

“Renourishment is one of the most effective methods we have of protecting foreshores and has been undertaken in Port Phillip since the 1980s. It provides a storm buffer for coastal infrastructure and helps to create wider, sandy beaches.”

She said that depending on weather, renourishment would start in late May and take about six to eight weeks.

  • The information session is at Rosebud Library, McDowell St,
    5.30-6.30pm Wednesday April 22.
    To provide feedback or receive project updates, call DELWP on 9637 9304 or
    email jill.garvey@delwp.vic.gov.au
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