Stockton’s long-term coastal plan goes to Council after strong community endorsement

19 Jun 2020

City of Newcastle’s long-term management plan for Stockton’s erosion hit coastline will be decided at Tuesday night’s Council meeting after receiving overwhelming support from the community through the public exhibition process.

Councillors will vote to adopt the Stockton Coastal Management Program (CMP), which proposes a mix of immediate and longer-term measures to replenish the heavily eroded beach and protect Stockton’s coastal assets.

Actions include an initial sand nourishment program costing $4 million from land-based or other permissible sources, as well as essential work to address the imminent risk to community assets and private property including minimal extensions of the existing buried seawalls.

A mass offshore marine sand nourishment campaign of 2.4 million cubic metres, followed by ongoing 10-year maintenance would provide the necessary protection for Stockton. The pathway for the mass nourishment strategy is through the Deputy Premier’s Stockton Taskforce, that is accessing the required volume of sand from offshore locations, funding sources and all relevant approval processes.

Community and agency stakeholders have backed the proposed measures, with 73 per cent of respondents indicating their support during the recent public exhibition period.

City of Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said feedback provided during this process has been used to refine the final draft of the CMP, which will be tabled at Tuesday’s meeting.

“We know how important it is to the community that we move forward with a plan that achieves the best outcome for Stockton’s coastline,” the Lord Mayor said.

“The response we received during the public exhibition period was fantastic, with more than 3,000 views of our dedicated web page and 436 downloads of the draft CMP document, not to mention 18,700 views of videos informing the community and encouraging submissions.

“This extensive engagement has allowed us to carefully consider the needs of the community and industry stakeholders while preparing the final version of the Stockton Coastal Management Program.”

If approved, the Stockton CMP will be submitted to the NSW State Government for certification review.

Stockton Community Liaison Group (CLG) Chair Barbara Whitcher said the group was keen to see the process continue to move forward.

“After extensive consultation with City of Newcastle, including 22 meetings, the Stockton Community Liaison Group is pleased to see that a coastal management plan, which has the broad support of the community, will go to Council,” she said.

“The majority in our community and Council are in agreement about the main features of the program to finally address erosion and protect our coastline.

“We are hopeful that all Councillors will endorse the plan at Tuesday night’s Council meeting to allow the process to continue moving forward with the NSW Government.”

Another key step towards addressing Stockton’s long-term erosion issues was also taken this week, with the first meeting of the Deputy Premier’s Taskforce being held on Tuesday.

The City of Newcastle will play a key role in the taskforce, which is being chaired by NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro and includes the Lord Mayor, the State Member for Newcastle and representatives from the Stockton community, Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, Department of Regional NSW, Port of Newcastle and the NSW Coastal Council.

The meeting was hailed by the Deputy Premier as “very successful”, with the Taskforce committed to meeting at least four times a year with the common goal of getting sand onto Stockton Beach.