A closer look at Newcastle’s southern beaches

13 Oct 2022

Significant damage and loss of sand caused by several storm events this year has put the spotlight on future-proofing Newcastle's southern beaches – the stretch of coastline between Nobbys Beach and Burwood Beach.

Executive Director Planning and Environment Michelle Bisson said that the coastline is changing and that the community have an important role in deciding how to manage these changes into the future.

"Significant weather events, combined with long-term sea level rising, means that waves are now reaching higher on the shoreline, exposing both bedrock and man-made structures more frequently – not just here but along the entire east coast,” Ms Bisson said.

"The City is spending $1.1 million now to reinstate safe access at Bar Beach, and also looking to the future to develop a longer-term strategy for this hugely important stretch of our coastline."

City of Newcastle is working with coastal experts to better understand the impacts over the short and long term and what that means for the future use of these beaches and assets located along the coast.

Recent studies include an assessment of coastal inundation and erosion hazards, and follow earlier studies in 2018 that found unprotected areas of coastline are at a higher level of risk for erosion than previously thought.

"The area most at risk is the currently unprotected section of coastline from Cooks Hill Surf Life Saving Club at Bar Beach south to the cliff line at Dixon Park," Ms Bisson said.

"Along this stretch there is no natural cliff line or man-made structure in place. The results of the coastal hazards assessment indicate a future reduction in shore width, and risk of damage to built assets including the Cooks Hill Surf Lifesaving Club building and adjacent roads and parking areas."

"Our team is working with these coastal experts to develop a Coastal Management Program (CMP) for this area, which will consider the increasing exposure to coastal hazards and explore long-term management options for this highly valued stretch of coastline."

Consultation on the potential impact of these predictions and possible management options has already begun with key stakeholders including Surf Lifesaving clubs along this stretch of coast and will continue with the broader community over the coming months.

The CMP will ultimately be placed on public exhibition and then brought to the Council for support. It will then be forwarded to the NSW Minister for Local Government for certification.

City of Newcastle reminds the community to follow safety warnings and to adhere to any accessway closures or hazard notices that impact use of the beach while the emergency repair work is completed.