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5m of dune lost at Surfside highlights resident's concerns

Mcleods Beach was one of the many beaches across the region impacted by the recent Eastern Low that passed through over several days bringing rains, floods and high seas. Local resident Viv Sethi says "Mcleods Beach has lost about 5m of dune and we did not get the brunt of the storm. Luckily there were only 1.6m high tides. The shrubs in the pics were on the dune. Won't be so lucky in Sept. when we have 2m tides."

Mr Sethi is one of the many residents of Surfside who are now waiting on the Member for Bega to initiate action after he recently advised that "the NSW Government has already announced and made clear it is finalising protections for Surfside and will involve a multimillion dollar solution." The Beagle has requested details from the Member for Bega of when the announcement was made, who made it and what was stated as searches for the 'announcement' by both The Beagle and by the NSW Opposition and other interested parties have failed to find evidence of any such announcement. As yet there has been no response from the local member. The Beagle has also been advised that this is news to the Project Reference Group that the Member for Bega appointed to “guide” the Surfside erosion study. "The PRG was told very clearly that any mitigation for Surfside would be decided by an unnamed task force as part of the Coastal Management Program.  "Wamberal property owners are planning a class action against their council and the State government for their failure to act on the proposal for a revetment wall to protect their properties. This may explain the about face on Surfside, but we would be interested to learn when and where the Government announcement was made and details of the proposed work," the Project Reference Group member said. Ian Hitchcock, Eurobodalla Regional Coordinator of NSW Coastal Alliance, has also raised his groups concerns asking the Eurobodalla councillors "When (not if) Batemans Bay is hit with a storm of the 1974 storm event, what damage will be done? Will lives be lost? Who will get the blame?"

He has openly asked them to consider Council's policies and possible actions saying "You have seen what is happening at Wamberal on the Central Coast, and who is getting the blame. Not the State Government that has indirectly prevented the planned revetment wall from proceeding. Not the Coastal Council that sits behind the scenes and directs NSW’s coastal management operations. Not the state and council bureaucrats who implement the Government’s wishes. That’s right. It is the elected Central Coast Council who will “carry the can”.

"So far, you have ignored the wishes of the Surfside community and rubber stamped the recommendations of your planning bureaucrats. If this continues, you could end up endorsing a Coastal Management Program that sacrifices Surfside to the sea."

"Please get involved in the Surfside erosion issue and let Andrew Constance and the State Government know that the community wants “hard” protection to rectify the man-made damage caused to the northern shoals and spit that once protected Wharf Road and the Lower Surfside area. You might also get a reassessment of the existing sea wall that is intended to protect the CBD. Parts of the Batemans Bay CBD are lower than Surfside and more susceptible to tidal surges and flooding."

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