After categorically stating it would not fund any removal of flood debris from Tuross Beach (citing it to be a regular natural occurrence) the Eurobodalla Council has today backflipped having come under pressure from members of the community.
In the leadup to this morning's dawn cleanup, that saw Council staff and a contractor truck and bobcat arrive, there had been widespread criticism of Council's refusal to clean up the beach in readiness for the summer holidays.
Of particular concern was the fact that the Tuross Main Beach is the only one in Tuross Head that has a lifeguard. Locals, frustrated by the sheer volume of flood and bushfire related debris that littered the beach voted with their towels to go to the more dangerous NeverWorks, Plantation, Stonsey's and even the most notorious of all, Coila Beach, with its rips and gutters. While the locals might hold a better knowledge of these notorious beaches they inadvertently took unsuspecting visitors with them. Fortunately there were no incidents however, had there been, it is understood that the lifeguards attending the contracted Tuross Main beach would have been under pressure to relieve their duties on that beach to attend a call. Fortunately Council management changed their mind in regards to their obligations to provide a safe swimming beach for visitors realising that a safe beach, especially in times of Covid, also required enough space for the many swimmers who sought out, and were encouraged to attend a patrolled beach.
John Tilbrook of the Tuross Head Progress Association (THPA) told The Beagle "Over the Christmas/New Year holiday period, which was during the Council staff stand-down period, the THPA President, Cathy Milliken, has been in ongoing negotiations with the Eurobodalla Shire Council for the Council to intervene and conduct a ”one -off “ clean up of the timber debris strewn right over the Main Beach and the Tuross Beach Holiday Park beach basin at the entrance to Tuross Lake". "The incredible build-up of storm debris across the beach and breach fronts has been accumulative, due to the constant outflow of timber debris that has resulted from the flooding episodes of the Tuross River and Tuross Estuary since last April 2021. Much of the material is fire affected from the bushfires. The number of outgoing king tides exiting the mouth of the Tuross Lake hasn't helped either".
"Today the Council outdoor staff returned to work after their annual block leave period, and have cleaned up of much of the beaches swimming area.
The early morning work suited the operation of the bob-cat front end loader to attend the site to minimise public safety issues. John Tilbrook said "Particular attention was taken to knockdown the many makeshift timber shelter structures that had been built from the timber debris salvaged by beachgoers. These were particularly unstable structures and posed an injury risk danger to children the structures accidentally collapse. Particular attention was paid to the beach area located in the patrolled flag zone".
"The THPA extends its thanks to the Council staff, and to Warren Sharpe especially, for the tidy up around the Patrolled Beach section and life guard station.
"Over the next few months the THPA and other key stake holder groups will be holding further discussions with Council on the alternative options that may become available for the removal of the timber piles of accumulated storm and tidal debris deposited upon the Main Beach at Tuross Head."