Dear Beagle Editor,
I have concerns about what Council is doing at Surfside. I am writing this letter to you because I want to document what council is doing at Surfside, and to let the community know what is happening. I believe that council is trying to deliberately flood Surfside in order to prove that we are in a 'vulnerable' zone. This e-mail was sent to a senior Council staff member on Jan 3rd Dear senior Council staff member (name withheld by Editor) I have just returned from a trip away to find that the dune on Surfside beach has been raised by about a meter. Could you please answer the following questions. 1) Why was this work carried out? 2) As a professional, what due diligence did you carry out to consider how raising the dune would alter the mechanics of the beach and affect the stormwater runout from the outlets? 3) Was a D.A. filled out for this work? 4) Were Councillors briefed on this work? 5) Why weren’t the stormwater outlets cleared of sand prior to the dune being raised? 6) Why wasn’t excess sand removed from the beach in front of the outlets and used to build up the dune? The attached pictures show the current state of the stormwater outlets under the road that have been in a state of disrepair for some time (about a year), since a large chunk fell away and council responded simply by placing barricades to prevent pedestrian traffic (as can be seen in the picture).
The close-up pictures show that the two right hand outlets are completely blocked, while the third is ¾ blocked. By raising the dune and not clearing the stormwater outlets, council has created an extremely dangerous situation, whereby a king tide (1.99m expected on 12th Jan) will be able dam up to a greater height ahead of the stormwater that is trying to escape. If an East Coast low occurs in conjunction with this Surfside will flood from behind, directly as a result of council actions! The stormwater outlets need to be addressed before this happens or council will be accountable for any loss of property or life. signed Viv Sethi Update: February 20th - email to senior Council staff member..... G'day ####, when can I expect an answer to this e-mail? Still No Answer According to locals, two trucks showed up at night and unloaded and laid down a pathway for heavy machinery. Within a day or two, trucks delivered sand and it was used to raise the dune by about 1m ! Given that the stormwater outlets are blocked, this has created an extremely dangerous situation,as explained in the e-mail to senior Council staff member and given that this year is especially bad for King Tides, with tides greater than 2m expected in April, May, June and July! I'm sure council is aware of this. Below is a video taken March 4th, 2017 that shows that what I have said is actually happening after the rain on Friday (which wasn't that much).
The blocked outlets are evident and the buildup of sand in front of the outlets has caused mini lake to be formed and water from the outlets is being forced to back-up the creek and threaten houses. The video shows that it will have to back up until the level rises about 0.5m so that it can clear the bar in front of it. If this combines with a king tide I think you know what will happen. I don't know what to do next. Council has not responded to me and I suspect that they don't have answers to the questions I asked. To be completely ignored by this senior manager and to see no action at all from Council since I raised my concerns is, in my opinion, very poor. Council have done this action and have ignored my letter to them. If there is flooding and damage who will be responsible. If there are any insurance claims it is obvious that Council has tampered with natural drainage so insurance claims against a natural Act of God would be futile. Related also, is the fact that in the council agenda for the Feb 28 meeting, council were awarded $1m for flood damage due to the Jun 2016 storms. When I tried to see if the damage to Surfside was included in the scope of work,I found that the tender documents were 'confidential'. The Surfside Dune Build-up and the lack of response from a senior Council staff member to my questions from Jan3 ( which, as an engineer, he should have been able to answer prior to carrying out the work) is insulting at best. As a retired engineer, I will be taking this issue up with Engineers Australia and demanding answers. As a member of the community, I have every right to know the scope of work that is being covered by the $1m grant for last June's flood damage. The classification of tender documents for 'flood damage' as 'confidential' is mysterious for documents that should be public information, however, I will fill out a GIPA request if Council insists in not answering. I have sent Council an e-mail asking why and have not yet received an answer. Was the Coastal Panel advised of Council's decision to raise Surfside Dune as it is my understanding that such actions, altering the natural form of coastal zones such as placing a metre high berm, require the Coastal Panel being notified. On a final point the attached photo of Wharf Road 1950's clearly illustrates double standards council is applying to Surfside through it's Sea Level Rise Policy( leading to the attempted expropriation of properties on Wharf Road).
The photo (above) clearly shows that the Wharf Road properties were well clear of the water in the 1950s. When locals provide anecdotal evidence that this area flooded after council built the breakwall in the 1970s, council dismisses their claims off hand, saying that there is no 'expert' evidence to back them up. However, council's entire Sea Level Rise Policy for Surfside is based on anecdotal evidence gathered by Council's Coastal Engineer in the early 2000s of a flooding event that occurred in the 1970s, some 30 years earlier! Council does not have any 'expert' advise by back up their anecdotal evidence. Quite possibly the anecdotal evidence in both cases are from the same people, yet, council chooses to believe one anecdote and not the other! Yours sincerly Viv Sethi