WAMBERAL residents left "devastated" by property damage caused by coastal erosion say it could have been avoided if Central Coast Council had followed advice and built a revetment wall to prevent subsidence.
Ocean View Drive resident of 11 years Margaret Brice said a wall had been on the table since the 1970s, when homes were washed into the sea.
"We're now in the devastating position where 18 properties are evacuated because council didn't complete a project that it had identified was necessary, that it had funding available for and legislation available for and it had committed to," she said.
"We built here in good faith on the council's advice they were building a seawall."
Ms Brice's seafront house is on piles and not damaged.
But what was a five metre long dune that sat five metres above the beach at the rear of her property is now a 10-metre high cliff.
Piers were not allowed for her deck, which is now unstable.
She said Wamberal Protection Association - where she is a committee member - formed to fight for a wall, which residents were willing to make a "fair and equitable contribution" towards, but also for the ability to protect their properties in the interim.
"Council has continuously refused development applications for any kind of [stabilising] works," she said.
"One of the neighbours had a DA to put sandbags in that were $30,000... and they refused it at the last minute.
"If the council didn't want the houses and the development to be here, don't put that into your legislation and don't allow the building."
Ms Brice said residents were feeling "frustration and disappointment, but there's also resignation and despair that they took faith in people".
"We don't have any faith the council will do anything to fix this problem long term.
"We want the state government to take over the revetment wall project and at the very least we need them to appoint a recovery coordinator that reports to the state government, because the council has shown no ability or motivation to do this wall at all."
She said a council committee about the wall last met in September.
The council did not respond to request for comment but held an extraordinary meeting about the matter on Monday night.
Affected residents were given two hours on Monday to collect personal belongings and secure their properties.
NSW Police are leading an Emergency Operations Centre set up in response to the erosion that also includes NSW Fire & Rescue, the NSW State Emergency Service, the council and support services.
A NSW Police spokesperson said 18 properties, including some unit blocks, were evacuated and 43 residences impacted. Two properties have partially collapsed.
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They had all suffered structural damage and were being assessed by public works engineers. Utilities have been cut off.
"Any decision to allow [further] access to the affected homes will be determined by the Local Emergency Operations Controller, Superintendent Joice, with public safety the number one concern," the spokesperson said.
"Residents will continue to be regularly updated with any changes."
The spokesperson said mitigation works "forms part of the ongoing response, which will be the responsibility of Central Coast Council".
Terrigal MP Adam Crouch said the situation at Wamberal Beach was "regrettable and a direct result of Central Coast Council's inaction".
"Private property as well as hundreds of millions of dollars of public assets along Ocean View Drive must be protected," he said.
"The tide and weather forecasts for this week are not positive.
"Even at low tide, water is reaching the back of Wamberal Beach and any additional swell could prove detrimental to private property.
"Council is the statutory authority for this location and the NSW Government continues to offer financial and technical assistance.
"In 2018 the NSW Government provided $207,500 for Council to develop plans for a long-term solution to erosion at Wamberal, and we stand ready to assist Council further."
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