Rainbow of sand provides welcome sight off Stockton coastline

16 Oct 2023

Stockton residents are celebrating the arrival of a 75-metre-long dredger spraying a rainbow of sand off the coastline, as it works to buffer the area from further coastal erosion.

The Danish vessel Trud R, named after the daughter of Norse god and protector Thor, arrived in Newcastle over the weekend to begin depositing an initial 100,000 cubic metres of amenity sand to help renourish Stockton Beach.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes joined Minister for Regional NSW Tara Moriarty, Minister for Hunter Yasmin Catley, Federal Member for Newcastle Sharon Claydon MP and members of the Stockton Community Liaison Group today to watch the long-awaited process in action.

"The commencement of amenity sand nourishment represents a significant milestone for the Stockton community and City of Newcastle as we continue to work with the NSW Government to protect Stockton's coastline," Cr Nelmes said.

"From City of Newcastle's development of the state's first certified Coastal Management Program to the NSW Government's commitment to delivering $21 million for mass sand nourishment, our work to protect the coastline has been a collaborative effort between the local community and three levels of government."

Sand for amenity nourishment is being sourced from the outer channel of Newcastle Harbour, then strategically placed by rainbowing, a process that involves jetting a sand slurry from the dredger into the near shore zone at the southern end of Stockton Beach. The duration of the work is dependent on weather conditions.

City of Newcastle's Executive Director Planning and Environment, Michelle Bisson, said the work that began today is the next step towards long-term mass sand nourishment.

"We’re pleased to see the beginning of amenity nourishment for Stockton, which will see 100,000 cubic metres of sand provide a buffer from further erosion," Ms Bisson said.

"While this important work is undertaken, further investigation and planning into sourcing 2.4 million cubic metres of sand required for mass sand nourishment will be managed by the NSW Government."

Chair of the Stockton Community Liaison Group, Barbara Whitcher, said the community is pleased the next stage of work for Stockton’s coastline has commenced.

"It’s great to see that, at long last, additional sand is going to be placed near the beach to help prevent further erosion at Stockton,” Ms Whitcher said.

“We’re grateful to the Federal Government and City of Newcastle for the funding provided for the first step towards long-term sand nourishment."

Amenity sand nourishment at Stockton is being delivered by Department of Regional NSW and NSW Public Works and was made possible by a $6.2 million grant obtained by the NSW Government through the Coastal Estuarine Risk Mitigation Program, which includes $4.7 million from the Federal Government and $1.5 million from City of Newcastle.

The grant also funds the studies into viable sources of sand from the North Arm of the Hunter River and offshore sources, in addition to the environmental approvals needed for mass sand nourishment.

To further protect Stockton's coastline until mass sand nourishment takes place, the construction of a buried protection structure at the southern end of the existing Mitchell Street seawall is underway.

The draft Extended Stockton Coastal Management Program, which includes an expanded list of management actions to support the long-term strategy of mass sand nourishment, is in the final phase of development ahead of public exhibition in 2024.

The draft Extended Stockton Coastal Management Program will broaden the geographical area covered by the program to include the northern end of Stockton Beach from Meredith Street to the Port Stephens Local Government Area boundary.