City of Newcastle’s Stockton Coastal Management Program (CMP) team has been recognised as essential and will work remotely through any Government-directed lockdown in response to COVID-19 in order to meet the Local Government Minister’s shortened deadline of 30 June 2020.
Coastal Councils across NSW are completing Coastal Management Programs, long term plans for managing risks like erosion and sea-level rise, under the Coastal Management Act 2016, with a deadline in place for December 2021.
Despite the challenges brought by COVID-19, The Lord Mayor met with the Stockton Community Liaison Group via Zoom as work continues towards to the Ministerial direction to have a CMP for Stockton by the 30 June 2020.
“With projects on hold or delayed across the state there had been some concern from the Stockton community about how COVID-19 would affect our ability to deliver a CMP by the shortened deadline,” the Lord Mayor said.
“We reiterated today that despite the enormous challenges we’re facing as a community, Stockton remains a key priority for City of Newcastle. The team delivering our CMP will continue to work as an essential service should the Federal or State Government direct the community into lockdown.”
The Lord Mayor said Stockton’s CMP was expected to focus primarily on sand nourishment along with the protection of public and private assets.
“The message is clear from the Stockton community. Return a sandy beach that locals and visitors can enjoy, and manage our natural coastal environment in a way that reduces risk and keeps the community’s way of life.
“Our Stockton team is reviewing all previous options however, there’s really only one way to deliver on this call from the community and that’s to complete a CMP focussed primarily on beach amenity and reducing risk, that will meet the demands of the State Government’s certification requirements.
“We will be looking for community feedback in mid-May during the public exhibition period.”
The draft Stockton CMP will be placed on 28-day Public Exhibition from Wednesday 13 May providing the community an opportunity to have their say on the long-term plan to manage coastal erosion. Due to restrictions on public gatherings caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, City of Newcastle will continue to engage online and via the post/mail.