City delivers works in face of ongoing Stockton erosion

20 Sept 2019

City of Newcastle will undertake multi-million dollar works at the northern end of the Mitchell Street seawall to protect it from future failure caused by ongoing coastal erosion.

The City has undertaken emergency works at Stockton Beach in response to unprecedented erosion impacts in recent weeks, including protecting sections of the coastline with one-tonne sandbags and closing beach access for public safety.

City of Newcastle CEO Jeremy Bath said the City was doing everything it was allowed to do under State Government legislation to protect property and public safety at Stockton.

“City of Newcastle is committed to protecting the Stockton coast and community, including emergency works like sandbagging, and working with the State Government to secure approval and support for a long-term solution for the area,” Mr Bath said.

“While I understand footage of the huge loss of sand immediately in front of Stockton Surf Life Saving Club, the adjacent car park and Lexie’s Café are difficult for the community to see, coastal engineers have confirmed the seawall built by the City in 2017 is working and these assets are safe for the long-term.

“The State Government endorsed the Newcastle Coastal Zone Management Plan in late 2018. This Plan only provides City of Newcastle with approval to undertake short to medium actions, but critically no long-term actions to counter coastal erosion,” he said.

Lord Mayor of Newcastle Cr Nuatali Nelmes said the City and the community want Stockton Beach to be a usable beach enjoyed by the public.

“City of Newcastle’s preferred option is to bring sand back to the coastline. However, this can only be done via the State Government’s Coastal Management Program process.

“We are working with Government agencies on the development of a Coastal Management Program which legislation dictates will come into effect from 31 December 2021. This Program will include a long-term solution to ongoing erosion at Stockton.

“Until then, are hands are tied in terms of what we can do, unless the State Government intervenes.

“The City’s priority right now however is keeping the community safe. We remind people to remain away from the top and bottom of the sand cliffs as they have potential to collapse without warning,” she said.

Meanwhile, due to south easterly swell and tide on the back of limited sand accretion, Stockton Beach has seen further coastal erosion south of the Mitchell Street seawall.

Cabins at the holiday park were vacated this week as a precautionary measure ahead of condition inspections by City of Newcastle Coastal Engineering specialists. The cabins have now been reopened.

City of Newcastle has spent more than $5 million since 2015 on managing erosion at Stockton, including the recent emergency works.