ECA calls on Council to fast track Surfside protection plan

Eurobodalla Shire Council has been urged to fast track development of a coastal management plan to protect Surfside and the northern shore of Batemans Bay from storms and erosion.

Eurobodalla Coast Alliance Inc President Russell Schneider AM said it was “totally unacceptable” that local MP Andrew Constance’s commitment to find an engineering solution to protect Surfside and surrounding areas had been delayed for two years. (On February 25 2019 Mr Constance announced the Government would commit at least $5 million for an “engineering solution” at the Surfside area.

“I fear the NSW bureaucracy hijacked this commitment and has been stalling on it all this time,”Mr Schneider said.

“Council recently accepted a $250,000 grant from NSW—which was promised two years ago---to prepare a coastal management report which should have been developed long ago.

“Council management told Councillors it would take at least 12 months and possibly longer for the plan to be developed.

“In the meantime Surfside could be washed into the sea. Council needs to get moving on this with a sense of urgency.

“We have seen what happens on other parts of the NSW coast when eastern lows hit. We don’t want that to happen here.”

Mr Schneider said a consultant’s report to the Government admitted the new bridge would increase water flows on the north side of the bay.

In a letter to Council he said “ECA believes it is totally unacceptable for the residents of Surfside to be left with ongoing uncertainty about when—and, indeed, whether—they will be protected. This anxiety is compounded by the likelihood of extensive storm events arising from expected weather this year. Councillors will no doubt be held accountable should the delays in this project result in injury or damage.

“Given the knowledge that Surfside faces a clear and present danger this project should be given the highest priority.

“On behalf of Surfside residents ECA strongly requests that Council direct the coastal management plan in relation to Surfside and adjoining areas be expedited as a matter of the most extreme urgency and a report be provided to the community within three months, i.e, by end April 2021.”