Council to vote on Point Moore car ban to tackle erosion

Edward ScownGeraldton Guardian
Point Moore has been eroded by recent storms.
Camera IconPoint Moore has been eroded by recent storms. Credit: Edward Scown

Geraldton city councillors will next week decide the fate of a popular sand driving spot at Point Moore when it votes on a proposed vehicle ban in a bid to combat coastal erosion.

The motion suggests blocking vehicle access to a 150m stretch between Pages Beach Park and Explosives Track, on the northern side of Point Moore.

The initial plan is to place barricades, which have already appeared at Explosives Track, at the entrances of the tracks for a period of 18 months. However, a proposal drawn up in March would see access blocked with “large rocks” at either end of the Pages Beach track.

Once these are in place, re-vegetation of the area is planned. This would make the ban effectively permanent, with the tracks disappearing under native plant cover. Access to the southern end of the beach, nearest the lighthouse, will be permitted as usual via Osprey Track. In a comment attached to the motion, Cr Sally Elphick said the “extreme” high tides and swells over winter had eroded the sand dunes which were “important for the protection of the shoreline”.

“Currently the small strip of beach left as the tide recedes is causing vehicle traffic to traverse very close to the edge of the vulnerable coastline,” she said.

Professor Angus Morrison-Saunders, who teaches environmental impact assessment at ECU, says cars are unlikely to be the cause of beach erosion.

“Cars on the beach don’t cause beach erosion to my knowledge, but can be a big problem for vegetation on coastal dunes,” he said.

“Chances are that massive coastal erosion is the result of breakwaters and other structures interfering with natural longshore movements of sand along the coast. They move northwards in summer with prevailing south-westerly sea breezes, and they move southwards during winter when big storms come from the north-west.”

The issue will be voted on at the City of Greater Geraldton council meeting on Tuesday.

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