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Beach debris has to go

The Tuross Head Progress Association has written to the Mayor of Eurobodalla Council stating it is not satisfied with the advice being received from Council staff regarding the flood debris on Tuross Main Beach.

Many residents of Tuross Head have already made numerous complaints to the Engineering Department of the Eurobodalla Shire Council (ESC) about the threat to public safety caused by the unsightly presence of large volumes of timber debris which presently covers the whole length of the main beach. It is principally this beach which caters for the local population and the large numbers of visitors that flock to Tuross Head for its normally pristine and safe waters, enjoying this designated patrolled beach.

According to John Tilbrook, Acting Secretary and Senior Vice president of the THPA those contacting Council are soon disappointed to that the Council has no intention to intervene in the removal of debris deposited on the beaches as a result of the outflow from the Tuross River system after the recent heavy rain, as such activity is against Council policy. The Engineering Department’s advice to callers is that the Tuross community should instead await future king tides to wash away the debris, but that said, the recent high tides and record high tides have not breached the debris which is lodged well above the high tide line.

The current state of the beach is having a detrimental effect on the appearance of the beach, and there is a very distinct danger that beach goers may suffer injury from mingling with the debris, or treading on buried debris, especially if some of the timber is drawn into the sea or is thrown into the sea by other beach users has been witnessed, as timber drawn into the waves and off shore will pose a direct threat to swimmers, board riders and small craft operating off the coast. Many locals now believe that ESC must have a duty of care, having been made aware of the potential risks explained above. Unknown persons have already taken it upon themselves to build piles and illegally burn the logs on the Main Beach requiring the call-out of the Rural Fire Brigade who have experienced difficulty in accessing the beach to deal with the fires. Both adults and children have also been industrious in using the timber logs to build large cubby like structures which are prone to collapse, and in such incidents injury to children undertaking such activities is highly likely.

The THPA, by way of illustration provided two photographs. The first was taken today, 25 October 2016 of two small pre-school children who were called back from the beach because of these dangerous conditions. The second photograph was provided by a fellow member of the THPA depicting the Council at work on the same main beach cleaning up the littered timber and storm debris taken only a few years ago when such action was considered to be covered by the extant ESC policy.

The local Tuross Head Rural Fire Brigade have advised the THPA and Council that it is willing to involve brigade members is supervising the removal of timber debris from the beach by building the correct size stacks and burning the timber and dampening of the hot sand and ashes, however such activity can only take place with the approval of the ESC and involvement of the Fire Control Headquarters in the NSW Fire Brigade. Such a project would also require local volunteers, under supervision, to assist in gathering timber and building the stacks to be burnt under controlled conditions.

With the summer months fast approaching residents of Tuross Head await to see any intervention or action to eradicate the present dangers to public safety and return the beach to an appropriate standard to meet with the expectation of the Tuross community, business owners, and especially visitors to the region as the critical tourist season approaches and visitor numbers increase.