New Jersey

Rock wall and groynes would save Inverloch, they say

LOCALS and visitors can tell you where all the sand from Inverloch Surf Beach has gone over the past five years, every 75 meters of it.

And Inverloch Surf Life Saving Club’s Environment Officer, Warren Cook, has gotten a bird’s-eye view of the movement from his home, watching Anderson Inlet fill up with sand while being fully aware of the surf club’s constant threat of erosion.

“We’ve been a bit lucky in the last two years that the erosion damage has gone down, but in the years prior to that the storm surges and southwest currents have eroded really massive amounts of sand,” said the surf club’s former president.

“We lost two patrol towers along the way, and where the surf club building used to be far back in the dunes, you can now see it clearly from the beach.

“But it’s not about us or the surf club building. That will mean threats to the city’s infrastructure and some of the beachfront homes in the coming years as sea levels rise, unless something major is done soon.

“We have called for immediate action from the start and thankfully we have seen some action that has been successful, notably the rock face at the end of Cape Paterson Road, but there really needs to be a commitment to more action now.

“Personally, I would like to see the rock face extend all the way along the beach from where it is now to Point Norman and have three groynes built to reduce the effects of the tides and storm surges and to capture and hold back more of the sand.

“I think you’ll find that the sand will start to accumulate again.”

Speaking on ABC radio this week, Mr Cook said there was still a risk Inverloch would lose its surfing beach unless major work were urgently funded and carried out.

Such an outcome would be catastrophic for the city and its economy.

“The advice is good, but it has been running for three years now. It’s time to act,” he said.

A former member of the advocacy group involved in the Cape to Cape Resilience Project, Mr. Cook was one of several community leaders who have resigned for lack of action.

“They lost some good people there.”

Mr Cook said the project team and the Department for Energy, Environment and Climate Action needed to publish the full series of reports and produce an implementation plan that could be funded just before beach and dune erosion resumed at its previously very damaging rate.

Currently, the Cape to Cape project team is conducting an extensive community engagement program about next steps.

They have staged several pop-up engagement opportunities and are also asking people to respond to an online survey about the actions they would like to see while asking several key questions about the impact of climate change/sea level rise in the future .

Survey responses must be received at by 26 February 2023.

Some of the questions include:

* What would you think of moving Inverloch Surf Life Saving Club over time if it meant we could continue to have a sandy beach in Inverloch?

* How would you feel about moving roads and services if it meant we could continue to have a sandy beach in Inverloch?

* How would you feel about moving private properties out of vulnerable areas over time if it meant we could continue to have a sandy beach in Inverloch?

* What would you think of moving Bunurong Road if it meant we could still have a sandy beach in Inverloch?

There are also questions for those concerned about erosion in and around Anderson Inlet, including:

* Thinking about Anderson’s Inlet, how would you feel about moving private property out of vulnerable areas over time?

What the department had to say

From a spokesman for the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA):

“We are currently implementing Phase 2 of the Cape to Cape Resilience Project with extensive community and stakeholder engagement now underway.

“DEECA welcomes community input on issues such as what adaptation measures are being supported in the areas between Cape Paterson and Cape Liptrap.

“The intent of Phase 2 is to gain an understanding of which intervention strategy aligns with local community aspirations and values.”

DEEECA background

Technical information conveying the breadth of results in the Phase 1 reports has been summarized in several summary documents available at resilience-project and are available through Engage Victoria.

Stage 2 is the development of the Cape-to-Cape Resilience Plan, which includes managing the changes along the Inverloch coast, building resilience for the coastal communities between Cape Paterson and Cape Liptrap, and planning for future adaptation.

DEEECA has already successfully conducted 4 community drop-in sessions in 2023, at Venus Bay, Inverloch Twilight Market and Inverloch Surf Lifesaving Club on 10th and 11th January. A total of 400 people attended these drop-in sessions to pose questions to experts representing multiple agencies.

Community input is critical to the development of the Cape to Cape Resilience Plan. An online survey is now live on Engage Victoria: The survey closes on 26 February 2023.

This survey is an opportunity for the community to shape coastal hazard management along the Bass Coast and South Gippsland coastline.

The Engage Victoria survey has already seen over 16,000 visits to the site since it was launched on Monday 9th January 2023.

The full suite of Phase 1 reports is expected to be released in due course.

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