About 100,000 cubic metres of sand will be sourced from Newcastle's harbour entrance as quickly as possible for the short-term renourishment of Stockton Beach.
Stockton Taskforce chairwoman and Minister for Regional NSW, Tara Moriarty and Newcastle MP and Minister for the Hunter Tim Crakanthorp announced the plan on Thursday following the taskforce's first meeting in a year.
The taskforce received confirmation that the Department of Regional NSW and NSW Public Works would coordinate and deliver the works funded by a $6.2 million grant awarded to the NSW Government last October.
The grant included $4.7 million from the Federal Government's Coastal and Estuarine Risk Mitigation Program, and $1.5 million from City of Newcastle.
While the goal remains unchanged, unforeseen issues relating to dredging approvals mean only 100,000 cubic metres of sand will initially be deposited.
Public Works - which is managing the dredging short-term sand renourishment project - has identified a site in the navigation channel beyond the break wall entrance which could be accessed within the existing Port of Newcastle dredging approvals.
Tenders for dredging and sand placement closed this month. A contract is expected to be awarded in September, with works to commence after the necessary approvals for sand placement are in place.
Mr Crakanthorp declined to commit to a timeline for depositing the sand on the beach.
"Once we have got a company that will do it, it's a matter of getting the right window to get that sand onto the beach. You also have to get the right sized dredge and that isn't always available," he said.
"We've got our departments working as hard as possible to get sand on the beach. There is no one who wants that sand on the beach as me and the communities of Stockton and Newcastle."
The sand to be deposited on the beach as part of the short-term renourishment program is only a fraction of the 2.4million cubic metres that is needed to fully restore the beach.
"That will either come from the Hunter River or offshore that is yet to be determined," Mr Crakanthorp said.
Taskforce community representative Barbara Whitcher said she was confident the taskforce was moving in the right direction.
"The 100,000 cubic metres will be a start; we want more, of course. At least we are now moving forward to getting that particular sand," she said.
"We had quite a few things to say today and we were listened to sincerely. I have confidence this project will move forward as soon as possible because it's urgent for us. Everytime there is an east coast low the locals shudder. We wonder what is going to disappear next."
Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes welcomed the taskforce's new spirit of collaboration.
"With the Department of Regional NSW on board as coordinator and NSW Public Works as the delivery agency for the work funded by the grant, I expect to see continued progress to provide long-term protection to the beach, surf club, local roads and parkland," she said.
City of Newcastle's executive director of planning and environment, Michelle Bisson, said mass sand nourishment remained the long-term solution to protecting the Stockton Beach. She added work to develop the draft Extended Stockton Coastal Management Program (CMP) was well underway.
"The Extended Stockton CMP is critical for realising the long-term vision for the Stockton coastline. It has been informed by extensive consultation with the community, as well as the findings of additional studies and investigations undertaken since the development of the 2020 CMP," she said.
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