THIS week's storm swells had not affected the skate park construction at South Newcastle Beach, despite high tide waves reaching a wall of excavated sand in front of the existing promenade, City of Newcastle said yesterday.
Board riders were concerned from the start that any widening of the promenade towards the water would add to an existing backwash in that part of the surf, which surfers said was noticeable at the weekend before the storm swell hit.
They still fear the potential for the backwash to scour out the sand, creating a South Newcastle version of the problem at Stockton, where the surf has almost stopped breaking in normal conditions in front of the rock walls built along the shore to stop erosion.
Although "Southy" has had a skate park with an elevated half pipe for decades, many people's first impressions of the new plans were that its empty swimming pool style bowls would be almost impossible to keep free of sand, making them dangerous, as well as impractical, for skateboarding.
The $10-million-plus project has changed considerably since it was originally unveiled, including the removal of a section that jutted onto the sand from the existing promenade.
The council website says the main contractor began in August, with the work to take two years.
A separate tender for the skate park would follow "late" this year.
Asked about the project on Monday, the council said: "City of Newcastle engaged qualified coastal engineers to provide coastal advice to the revised design of South Newcastle Beach project and to complete an engineering assessment of the final design.
"The entire skate park, including the bowl, fits within the existing footprint of the beach promenade and seawall.
"The new seawall is being constructed to address structural concerns with the existing seawall along the same alignment, while improving safe beach access through additional bleachers and a ramp.
"No weather damage has occurred to the project area.
"Consistent with all works completed by City of Newcastle and our contractors, the construction program has made appropriate allowance for inclement weather on the delivery schedule."
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