Rock bags offer emergency protection but sand remains the focus for Stockton

25 Aug 2021

Work to place a temporary protection structure along Stockton foreshore at Barrie Crescent is now complete while City of Newcastle remains committed to sourcing sand for mass nourishment at Stockton Beach. 

The beach in front of Barrie Crescent Reserve at Stockton suffered severe shoreline recession following successive east-coast low storm events in 2020, triggering an emergency response to protect the adjacent road and properties. 

The structure replaces previous sandbagging works and comprises around 1260 Kyowa rock bags, weighing more than 5000 tonne and covers a 210-metre section of coastline. At a cost of $3.9 million, on top of the $10 million already invested to manage erosion at Stockton, the rock bags provide temporary protection from further shoreline recession in severe weather events. 

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the long-term strategy of mass sand nourishment for Stockton Beach, as outlined in the Stockton Coastal Management Program, remains the focus and priority for City of Newcastle. 

"The rock bags offer a robust, sustainable and economical temporary management option for coastal erosion however they are not a long-term solution," Cr Nelmes said. 

"Our Stockton Coastal Management Program identifies mass sand nourishment as the preferred solution to buffer Stockton from coastal hazards and return amenity and access to the beach and we will continue to work with the Deputy Premier's Stockton Beach Taskforce to source the sand needed for Stockton Beach. 

"We are expecting a report from the NSW Government which will provide further detail about the three potential offshore sand sources announced by the Deputy Premier last month." 

City of Newcastle is investigating the costs, additional studies and approvals involved to secure a mining licence to source offshore sand while also continuing to work with agencies on opportunities to source sand from within the harbour. 

"There are several streams of work underway to source sand and we are very firmly focussed on working collaboratively with the NSW Government to investigate planning and approval processes, and funding mechanisms for mass sand nourishment at Stockton Beach," Cr Nelmes said. 

The NSW Government-certified Stockton Coastal Management Program sets the intent to establish a pathway for mass sand nourishment while simultaneously planning and delivering immediate, high-risk site erosion protection measures, which includes the rock bag structure at Barrie Crescent.