State Transport Minister and local member, Andrew Constance, has stepped in to stop the stoush between the Wharf Road and Lower Surfside Property Owners Groups, Council, and the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH).
The two community groups had enlisted the support of the NSW Coastal Alliance (NCA) in preparing an injunction to stop construction of the new Batemans Bay bridge. According to community spokesperson Viv Sethi, “Until such time as the 60-year-old Clyde estuary erosion issue is resolved, we don’t want a new bridge exacerbating the existing problems. The Lower Surfside community has had enough of being the target of the OEH, council planners and the local climate change lobby. The old Wharf Road subdivision, the Surfside spit and the northern shoal have all been badly eroded by the adverse effect of past engineering works, not climate change. This includes the turbulence created by the current bridge pylons.”
When contacted today Ian Hitchcock, Eurobodalla regional co-ordinator for the NCA, said that he had been instructed by the Lower Surfside community groups to put the injunction action on hold. “Andrew (Constance) has been working behind the scenes for years to get some common sense into the climate change argument, and adaptation plans for vulnerable coastal communities. "The NCA is pleased that the Minister has made his views public in the Weekend Australian (September 1), and the Lower Surfside community has responded by deferring their injunction plans while Roads and Maritime (RMS) undertake a coastal Impact study in relation to the new bridge”.
Mr Hitchcock said that the Lower Surfside ratepayers had a special case because of the man – made erosion issue, but there was new hope for all coastal residents with property in locations classified and “coastal vulnerability areas” under the new Act. A number of Councillors and State MP’s in Sydney and on the Central Coast have expressed serious concern over the treatment of established residential areas, when it comes to protection or retreat. According to Hitchcock “the negative economic effect of coastal retreat policies is finally sinking in”.
Prepared and released by:
NSW Coastal Alliance