Long-term actions for Stockton’s coastline get the tick of community approval

11 Jun 2020

City of Newcastle’s proposal for mass-offshore sand nourishment and immediate minimal buried seawall extension works in the draft Stockton Coastal Management Program (CMP) has received broad support through public exhibition, with 162 community and 19 agency submissions in total.

The City completed the 28-day public exhibition period on Tuesday. Seventy four percent of submissions were supportive of the Stockton CMP.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the high number of submissions showed how important a positive outcome for Stockton Beach was to the community.

“The level of feedback on the draft Stockton CMP is appreciated given the community engagement occurred during COVID-19 restrictions,” the Lord Mayor said.

“Staff had to work around typical face-to-face engagement activities in order to ensure the community’s voice was heard in the review of the CMP.

“Within days of the draft Stockton CMP going on public exhibition, more than 2,000 information packs including a summary of the plan, frequently asked questions and a reply paid feedback form and envelope were sent to each property in Stockton to ensure everyone had a chance to have their say,” the Lord Mayor said.

“The City also presented comprehensive information on the draft CMP on its website, including an animation, videos featuring Stockton Community Liaison Group Members, and the full report, together attracting more than 3,000 visitors and 436 downloads of the report over the exhibition period.

“The response from the community has been truly impressive and widely supportive, including well-informed, constructive feedback on the draft CMP and its recommendations.

“Two thirds of the total feedback received was from Stockton residents, while other submissions were received from as far afield as North Narrabeen.

“Half of all submissions showed specific support for mass, offshore sand nourishment as the preferred option for beach amenity and coastal protection, while other key points included identifying other sand sources and options for fast tracking the process.”

Stockton Community Liaison Group (CLG) Chair Barbara Whitcher said the CLG was supportive of City of Newcastle’s management actions detailed in the CMP.

“City of Newcastle has worked closely with our CLG and delivered an outcome which we broadly support, being mass sand nourishment and minimal buried seawalls,” Ms Whitcher said.

“While we remain vitally interested in exploring in more detail the causal effect of Stockton’s erosion, and funding sources, we generally support the Stockton CMP.”

City of Newcastle’s CMP team will now review the community feedback as well as that from industry stakeholders, and finalise the document including a summary of the issues raised during the public exhibition period, for Council consideration on 23 June 2020. It will then be submitted to the NSW State Government for certification review.

Coastal Councils across NSW are developing CMP’s in line with the Coastal Management Act 2016 with a deadline of December 2021.