Protection for Stockton Beach

12 Dec 2022

Newcastle City Council on Tuesday evening will consider a tender for the construction of a buried protection structure at the southern end of the existing Mitchell Street seawall in Stockton.

The protection structures will shield Stockton's coastline in the event of large swells, significantly reducing the chances of erosion.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said that she was pleased that the delivery of the promised next stage of onshore works at Stockton is occurring.

"These works will see City of Newcastle's (CN) investment at Stockton since the adoption of our Coastal Management Plan in 2020 increase to $9.5 million. Council has already committed $27.5 million to protecting Stockton Beach."

The buried protection structures and emergency works complement the NSW Government's proposed mass sand nourishment on the beach. CN has already undertaken significant work to understand the cause of erosion and beach recession, and gain community support for an evidence-based solution in close collaboration with the Stockton community.

CN's Executive Director City Infrastructure Joanne Rigby said that the first of three proposed structures will consist of underground vertical concrete piles that extend from street level to 8.5m below ground. Once constructed, only the very top of the round beams will be visible at ground level.

“The design of the structure considers its ability to address erosion from storm events, as well as long-term beach recession. It also considers the requirement to protect public assets at high-risk."

CN today met with the Stockton Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Group to ensure current and future works respect the significance of the Stockton coastline to the Worimi people and protects their heritage.

Meanwhile, CN has continued the work required to be able to receive and place sand on Stockton Beach and expects to have the placement designs and environmental approvals finalised in early 2023 – meaning that once a sand source is confirmed, Stockton will be ready to receive the sand.

CN is waiting for the NSW Government to finalise its role as outlined in its application for the recently awarded $6.2 million Coastal and Estuarine Risk Management Grant, which includes $4.7 million from the Federal Government and $1.5 million from CN.

A Stockton Community Liaison Group (CLG) meeting Monday morning discussed the issues around the NSW Government's commitment to project managing the work as outlined in its grant application to the Federal Government, which funds the delivery of sand for initial amenity nourishment at Stockton Beach, as well as the additional investigations and approvals required for mass sand nourishment.

Chair of the Stockton Community Liaison Group, Barbara Whitcher, called on the State Government to commit to a solution as a matter of urgency.

"We supported the NSW Government's application on the understanding that they would undertake the project management of this important work, and that they would own the associated licences required to obtain sand for Stockton."

"At today’s meeting, the community members were dismayed to hear of the lack of State Government commitment and action, especially as we had been so hopeful when Federal and CN funding was announced at Stockton in recent months. The Stockton community really need to see immediate action from the State Government to get sand back on our beach," said Ms Whitcher.

"The serious issue of erosion of the Stockton coastline will bring further anxiety when the east coast lows arrive, and we need all three levels of government to commit fully to addressing this issue in the immediate and longer term."

"We welcome Council’s investment of more than $9 million for additional onshore delivery of protections structures for Stockton. This continued investment from City of Newcastle is vital to the protection of Stockton beach and in line with the 2020 CMP."