CLEAN UP: Beach erosion at Woolgoolga after the east coast low in June.
CLEAN UP: Beach erosion at Woolgoolga after the east coast low in June. Trevor Veale

Council to consider seawall options

COFFS Harbour City Council staff will prepare a report on provisions for a seawall at Woolgoolga.

The proposal has been championed by Cr John Arkan and comes in the wake of last month's east coast low that resulted in severe erosion at Woolgoolga's main beach.

Cr Arkan lodged a motion at the last council meeting, asking for staff to prepare a cost and benefits analysis for construction of a wall along the Woolgoolga Beach Reserve.

He asked the council to consider the wall "from the boat ramp, to say Hofmeier Cl".

At the meeting, Cr Sally Townley questioned aspects of the motion, including cost.

"When I first saw the item I experienced reluctance to get behind it for a few reasons," Cr Townley said.

"It's fairly well established in the coastal management theory that often a rockwall or other such structure can exacerbate erosion somewhere else.

"Rockwalls have been considered in our local government area previously (including) Sapphire Beach which is an area probably in our LGA facing the most severe threat of coastal damage at the moment."

Cr Townley also pointed to the issue in the Byron Shire where the "battles for rockwalls" had run into "the tens of millions of dollars in cost".

But she agreed with Cr Arkan to have a report brought back to council to form a basis for future decision making.

Cr Arkan said the wall would not necessarily be constructed from rock, and recommended the council consider all options.

He later told The Advocate it could be constructed from interlocking concrete - a material that has been successfully used in other areas including South Africa's Durban Beach.

"The technology has been proven and has protected against the ocean but also sustained buildings and the environment," he said.

"There are developments planned in Woolgoolga and we want to make sure the wall is up and the community is safe.

"Sapphire Beach is equally as important in the Coffs Harbour local government area, but there is a whole shopping centre and CBD in Woolgoolga we also need to think about."

Councillors voted unanimously in favour of Cr Arkan's motion and a report will now be brought back to a future council meeting.

The report will include details of available technologies and materials.