RESIDENTS of Blacksmiths have been warned they could face a similar plight to people living in the beachside suburb of Collaroy if they bury their heads in the sand about the issue of sea level rise.
During an east coast low, erosion threatened to swallow a number of waterfront homes in the Sydney suburb.
Vice president of the Lake Macquarie Coastal Residents Action Group Frank Mieszala said rising seas and storm surge could pose a similar threat to Blacksmiths beach in coming decades.
However public meetings on a local adaptation plan being prepared by Lake Macquarie Council to protect the suburbs of Blacksmiths and Pelican have only been thinly attended.
Mr Mieszala said it was crucial the community had input on whether sand replenishment, a sea wall or an artificial off-shore reef were considered as options.
“Does the community want to defend Blacksmiths beach?” Mr Mieszala said. “Ironically, if we let Mother Nature do her thing, we will lose the beach completely.”
The Herald previously reported that under worst-case modelling carried out by the state government, low lying parts of both suburbs would be permanently inundated by the end of the century. Mr Mieszala said the community's feedback would guide whether a "retreat" or "defend" strategy was adopted.
The first local adaptation plan for the suburbs of Belmont South and Marks Point saw at significant policy shift towards property protection.
Mr Mieszala said a predicted sea level rise of .9 metres by 2100 also had the potential to cause havoc with the Swansea Bridge, which has a clearance of 2 metres. “If you've got to open bridge for every pleasure craft, it's a major problem,” he said.
"Then there's the associated issue of the breakwall, training wall and dredging of the channel. Will sea level rise improve things or make them worse? Will we have more Milano-type incidents?" he said.
A council spokeswoman said the adaptation plan would be created in four phases, with more than 100 comments about current issues collected since the process started last year.
"We are now entering Phase B, which will involve identifying possible solutions,” she said.
A community workshop will be held in early August to explore the ideas put forward by the community to manage coastal and flooding risks.
The spokeswoman said the Local Adaptation Plan would then be drafted and placed on public exhibition.