LIFTING a ban on offshore sand dredging is firming as a possible solution to combat the erosion crisis on Stockton beach, with the NSW Deputy Premier saying he supports an investigation into the practice despite concerns about its cost and environmental impacts.
But residents of the coastal peninsula are fed up with government inaction and bureaucracy over the issue, with hundreds flocking to the Stockton Bowling Club on Sunday for Save Stockton Beach Day to fundraise and demand action on the worsening erosion problem.
It has been two months since high tides and big swells ripped 2.5 metres of sand height from the beach.
And since then, under the Coastal Zone Management Plan, the only measures taken to fix the problem have been temporary; large sand bags at the northern end of the beach around the site of the demolished child care centre.
On the long-term solution front, the NSW government says it is working with the City of Newcastle to ensure a "compliant application" for renourishment of the beach "is able to receive quick assessment" and is awaiting further information from council.
But Deputy Premier John Barilaro supports an investigation into offshore sand dredging as a potential solution to address the crisis.
"I recognise that offshore sand dredging is one of the potential options that could be used to support the replenishment of Stockton beach," Mr Barilaro wrote in a letter to Newcastle City lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes, which was published online and met with scepticism from Stockton residents.
Offshore dredging is currently illegal in NSW, but the ban is overseen by Mr Barilaro.