NEWCASTLE Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes believes an underground breakwall could be the answer to erosion on Stockton Beach and also provide a platform for future extension of Bathers Way to the peninsula suburb.
Cr Nelmes will bring a lord mayoral minute before council on Tuesday night seeking support for engineers to investigate the construction of a rock wall to protect the section of Stockton foreshore badly eroded in the recent June storms.
She said a similar rock wall, comprised of huge breakwall-sized boulders, existed under John Parade, Merewether, and had proved successful in stabilising the foreshore between Merewether and Dixon Park beaches. The wall was not normally visible but sections had been exposed after last years super storm and the Pasha Bulker weather event.
I spoke to our engineers on site at Stockton after the recent storm and this was suggested as a solution, Cr Nelmes said.
We went close to losing the Stockton Surf Club this time and it is clear we need something more effective there than sand bags.
For the long-term protection of this important coast area, Stockton Beach needs to be fixed properly.
Cr Nelmess motion also calls for council staff to look into extending the popular Bathers Way coastal walk between Merewether and Nobbys across the harbour to Stockton. She said stabilisation of the Stockton beachfront with a rock wall would allow a promenade to be built over it and the dunes to be revegetated.
This is a win-win proposal that combines what is practically necessary for the future of Stockton Beach and also incorporates a great project that would improve the amenity of the beach for locals and be a tourist drawcard, she said.
Stockton Beach is notoriously susceptible to erosion but last months storms and high seas resulted in the worst destruction of the beachfront that long-time locals could recall.
Control measures mooted in the past, including the creation of an artificial headland, artificial reef or a sand-transfer system, carry price tags of up to $25 million, but the rock wall proposed by Cr Nelmes is estimated to be closer to $4 million. Construction of the Bathers Way component would be extra.
Her idea involves a rock wall being built from the southern end of the beach to meet the existing seawall at the northern end, which runs for about 500 metres from Pembroke Street.
Stockton community advocate Keith Craig, who sits on the councils coastal erosion committee, said an underground rock wall could work if done in conjunction with sand replenishment.
The rock wall would be covered and only come into sight after a similar east coast low, he said.
This would save the surf club assets. However, you have to be careful how you do this, because rock walls can destroy the beach.
It would need input from expert engineers, such as those at the Water Research Laboratory at the University of NSW.