A letter has been distributed to members of the Eurobodalla Coastal Alliance (ECA) in which Eurobodalla Shire Council General Manager Dr Catherine Dale advises that “Wharf Road was washed away by major floods and storms in 1954 and again in 1959.”
Ian Hitchcock, Eurobodalla Regional Coordinator NSW Coastal Alliance told The Beagle "The General Manager was using this information to justify her action in refuting the conclusions of the Sethi report on Batemans Bay erosion. Instead of undermining a report prepared by the Surfside engineer, Dr Dale has alerted Surfside residents to the potential danger that the pylons of the new bridge might present."
He continues "The 1954 and 1959 floods, referenced by Dr Dale, coincided with construction of the existing Batemans Bay bridge. Construction started in 1949, and the bridge was completed in 1956. Turbulence caused by the bridge pylons has always been suspected of contributing to the Wharf road erosion. Sethi noted the effects of this turbulence in his report, but not to the extent of the damage caused in the 1950’s that Dr Dale has now revealed."
Above: The 1954 and 1959 floods are referenced by Dr Dale in her letter to R Schneider June 25th, 2018. These floods coincided with construction of the existing Batemans Bay bridge. Construction started in 1949, and the bridge was completed in 1956.
"If Wharf Road was washed away by the floods that hit the Clyde during and just after the construction of the current bridge, Sethi has if anything, underestimated the erosion and environmental damage caused by the bridge pylons." "The question must now be asked:
"WHAT DAMAGE COULD BE CAUSED TO THE REMAINING SECTION OF WHARF ROAD AND LOWER SURFSIDE BY THE PYLONS OF THE NEW BRIDGE, AND THE STUBS OF THE CURRENT BRIDGE PYLONS THAT WILL REMAIN IN THE RIVER?" At Council's last meeting Maureen Nathan stated very clearly for everyone to hear (Refer to Live Streaming Timestamp 1:08:00) Maureen Nathan – "however in this historical connection I have had with Wharf Road as a private citizen and now as a councillor much of the discussion has been about the dreaded bridge piers and the sand flow ...... and I’m looking at the new bridge, the new piers and sand flow and for that reason I am wondering whether this proposal of doing a study now is in fact premature because we don’t know… again… what the new piers are going to do…." "It is now incumbent upon the State Government to revisit its environmental impact statement and undertake proper studies to measure the effects of the new bridge pylons on low lying residential areas to the east of the bridge." "By their own documentation for the new Batemans Bay Bridge it is becoming clear that they have not modelled the impact of the new piers"
"It is also time for Council and the OEH to admit that whether the Wharf Road erosion was caused by the bridge pylons, the southern sea wall, or as we suspect a combination of both, it was caused by government funded engineering works and the NSW State Government is obliged to repair the damage at its expense." Editors Note: An expert team of engineers have provided informed opinion to Ian Hitchcock of the Eurobodalla Regional Coordinator NSW Coastal Alliance that the stage two hazard identification study undertaken by the University of NSW has identifiable flaws and as such is not of a standard, in their opinion, to be used to determine the future of Batemans Bay. The Beagle understands that Eurobodalla Council has now received expert advice that the study should be “revised and resubmitted”. It is widely considered that any such revision should then be available for public review before Council commits further ratepayer and taxpayer monies to stage three of the Coastal Management program.