Imminent risk to Lexie’s Café building forces City to keep building closed

18 Feb 2020

City of Newcastle has been forced to maintain the closure of the building at Stockton Beach currently leased to Lexie’s Café following advice from coastal engineers.

The independent report following further severe erosion in recent weeks states that the building is within a hazardous zone of wave impact and is at immediate risk of significant damage or failure in a one-in-two-year storm event.

As a result, the City will not permit occupancy of the building.

City of Newcastle Infrastructure and Property Director Ken Liddell said the decision was made because of the unacceptable risk posed to public safety.

“According to the coastal engineers’ advice, the erosion impact on the building has created an imminent risk to public safety and, as a result, the building cannot be occupied,” Liddell said.

“We understand the direct impact this will have for the operators of the Café, staff and its patrons as Lexie’s is a much-loved and valuable part of the community. We will be working closely with the business owner to transition out of the premises to make this difficult process as smooth as possible.

“The erosion of Stockton Beach has been recognised as a natural disaster and the City must keep public safety a priority as the ongoing issues are managed and we work with the NSW Government on sustainable long-term solutions.”

Due to the same severe erosion event, City of Newcastle relocated all ocean-edge cabins to the adjacent reserve behind Stockton Swimming Pool to save the assets from falling into the ocean.

This is a temporary measure and a development application will be submitted to secure this location in the short to medium term while a long-term solution to the erosion is implemented and the risk to assets mitigated.

No space is available for all the relocated cabins within the existing holiday park as this space is designated for tents and caravans, and the park continues to take bookings.

While the cabins have been temporarily located, they must be properly secured to safeguard them against high winds, requiring footings and ties to be installed.

Underground works to the area east of Stockton Swimming Pool have been undertaken to minimise future costs associated with the security of the cabins, should a development application for the permanent relocation of the cabins in this area be approved.

“High winds occur in the area during east coast low storm events, which typically happen in the March-April period that is rapidly approaching,” Liddell said.

“If the development application is not approved, the cabins will be removed from the reserve. The works will not impact future use of the area by the public.

“The City of Newcastle is undertaking these measures to ensure public safety as well as to help protect what is a key part of Stockton’s tourism economy.

“The longer this important holiday accommodation is unable to be booked by visitors, the more tourism dollars Stockton is missing out on causing further harm to Stockton’s economy and community.”