Geraldton coastal erosion ‘puts homes at risk’

Francesca MannGeraldton Guardian
The Coastal Hazard Risk Management and Adaptation Plan Report aims to address coastal erosion and inundation risks along the Geraldton coastline, including at Drummond Cove.
Camera IconThe Coastal Hazard Risk Management and Adaptation Plan Report aims to address coastal erosion and inundation risks along the Geraldton coastline, including at Drummond Cove. Credit: The Geraldton Guardian

In less than 100 years, many residents in Geraldton’s coastal suburbs could have the ocean literally on their doorstep.

For others, the creeping impact of coastal erosion could affect their homes, community buildings and parks as soon as 2030.

The startling information was revealed earlier this month when the City of Greater Geraldton council released the draft Coastal Hazard Risk Management and Adaptation Plan Report for public consultation.

The draft report presents the results of a coastal hazard risk assessment and community consultation sessions, focusing on the 30km stretch of coastline from Cape Burney to Drummond Cove.

It also identifies and recommends a number of options the City and other stakeholders can pursue to address the risk posed by coastal erosion and inundation for the next 100 years.

During last month’s ordinary council meeting, Mayor Shane Van Styn invited the community to take the time to read the 485-page document and submit any feedback to the City.

“A lot of our budget decisions are all subject to what’s in the report,” he said.

“This report doesn’t contain the exact answers of what to do, but it provides all the options.

“As soon as we can get it out the better, and all we’re doing is getting it out for public comment and feedback.

“(This motion) is not binding, it’s not adopting (the report), it’s purely to get it out there into the public realm.”

Research into the potential risks began in 2015 and has been compiled in the report by project specialist consultants BAIRD, in consultation with the City, the community and stakeholders.

Findings suggest Geraldton faces adverse impacts of coastal erosion and inundation, with a large number of coastal assets located within high-risk areas.

The report notes northern beaches, including Drummond Cove and Sunset Beach, are already experiencing “severe coastal erosion pressures” which are expected to increase in the future.

Coastal areas south of Point Moore will be protected by the Southgate dunes for about 50 years before erosion occurs.

The report has identified 14 residential properties at an extreme risk of being affected by erosion in the next 10 years.

By 2110, the number of residential properties at an extreme risk will have risen to 698.

For these properties, the report has provided the City with three options: do nothing and resume the properties when they are impacted; begin a “planned retreat” and acquire properties at risk over time; or investigate coastal protection options to protect those under direct threat.

The report also recommends introducing a special control area which would see normally exempt developments require planning approval.

Properties within the control area would have a notification placed on the title, alerting purchasers to erosion and inundation risks.

The sea level is forecast to rise by 0.4mm by 2070 and 0.9mm by 2110, according to the report.

Residents have until 4pm on August 16 to provide feedback on the draft report.

The report and online submission form is available at cgg.wa.gov.au.

Hard copy submission forms are available at the Geraldton Civic Centre.

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