Complacency borne by future generations

27/08/2018 Posted by admin

UNDER THREAT: Waves crashing over Stockton’s only child-care centre that was forced to close for several days in January due to erosion. Picture: Daniel DanuserMILLIONS of tonnes of sand have been stripped fromStockton’s coastleaving only a small strip of usable beachon some sectionsat low tide.
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Historic photos from locals reveal the true extent of sand lossatthe popular family beach that hasbeen ravaged by erosion in the past few decades.

Mitchell Street, which wasonce separated from the sea by sand dunes and expansive beach, isnow on the water’s edge, saved only by a rock seawall built in 1989 that was only ever meant to be a temporary fix.

Experts agree that theproblem is largely caused by the Harbour-entrance breakwaters trapping sand at Nobbys.

It’s a problem that has been well documented for decades, but still there is no long-term solution to address it and no funding in sight.

Huge seas in January revealed just how precarious the situation is. Stockton’s child-care centre closed temporarily after waves threatened to swallow its playground and days later a long-abandoned garbage dump was revealed, complete with asbestos.

It’s long been argued that thekey to saving ourbeachesfrom gradual disappearanceis community awareness.

As can be seen from a recent public meeting at Stockton,residents know the situation is too serious for indifference.

The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage’s principalcoast specialist PhilWatson summed up the mood when hetold the meetinghe attended a similar gatheringin Stockton in 1995.

“It’s with a sense of regret that here we are 23 years later…and we still don’t have a solution,” he said. “Regrettably we’ve heard it before.”

It is a matter of costandcommitment, planningandcoordination,andpoliticalandfinancial priorities. The longer the delay in confronting the issue, the worse the problemand the more expensive the solutions.

Beacherosionis a worldwide phenomenon. Building protective walls can hasten sand loss, cut off the source of fresh sand, or shift the problem further along the coast.

We can only hope that in the lead-up to next year’s stateelection, the NSW government, stirredby the citizens it is elected to serve, will commit to more urgentandresolute action.

As we can see from the historic photos of Stockton beach, the cost of complacency will be borne by the generations that follow.

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