Coastal erosion a big issue at City of Greater Geraldton council forum

Francesca MannGeraldton Guardian
VideoPerth beaches at breaking point, a vital WA network washed away.

On a rare occasion — usually for a particularly contentious issue — the City of Greater Geraldton’s council chambers may overflow with community members eager to ask a question.

The City’s agenda forum on Tuesday, November 20, was one such event, with about 60 people filling the gallery to hear about a big issue facing Geraldton: coastal erosion.

Tomorrow, councillors will decide whether to adopt the final draft of the Geraldton Coastal Hazard Risk Management and Adaptation Plan (CHRMAP) report.

The report looks at the impact of coastal erosion and inundation to 12 locations along Geraldton’s coastline between Cape Burney and Drummond Cove.

According to the report there are up to 770 properties that could be impacted by coastal erosion during the next 100 years.

City executives have stressed that adopting the CHRMAP report would not be the end of the project.

According to briefing notes the report recommends specific investigations and ongoing monitoring to inform a five-yearly review of the plan.

Chief executive Ross McKim said the City was in the early stages of the project.

“There’s still a fair bit of investigation and consultation that needs to be done,” he said.

“The probable outcome is we’ll move on policies south of the city reasonably quickly as, to my knowledge, they don’t impact residential properties.

“Areas north of town will hopefully come together later next financial year.”

If councillors adopt the plan the City will be able to conduct detailed studies, investigations and consultations to refine the coastal setback lines.

Infrastructure Services acting director Chris Lee said this would allow the City to seek formal funding advice from the State Government.

“This advice is required to develop a long-term coastal planning policy,” he said.

“There will be further consultations with the community and their ideas will be collated for consideration.”

Mr Lee said no decision has been made on planning controls on potentially affected properties, including notifications on titles.

The re-connection of Whitehill Road in Drummond Cove, which was closed in 2016 due to heavy erosion, is likely to return to the council agenda once the results of the geotextile sand container groynes are clear.

Another option that could be re-visited if the draft report is adopted is the construction of an all-weather boat ramp in Drummond Cove.

The draft report was released for public comment in July.

The City received 233 submissions and the feedback has been incorporated into the final draft.

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