Costs/Benefits AnalysisThe Old Bar Beach Sand Replenishment Group is negotiating with an environmental scientist and educator to undertake the cost/benefit analysis of our offshore reef plan. This is a vital and necessary part of our submission. Professor Tor Hundloe is Emeritus Professor of Environmental Management at the University of Queensland and foundation Professor of Environmental Management and Science at Bond University. In 2003, he was awarded a Centenary Medal for Education for a cost/benefit analysis.
WHERE WE ARE AT NOW!
Start of our Feasibility StudyThe placing of this "Aquadopp" on February 26, 2011 by Dr Shaw Mead was the commencement of our study. This was carried out with the assistance of local leisure fisherman, Andrew Gillogly and friend together with our surveyor Mark Searles on board the "Tin Pig". The "Aquadopp" was retrieved on April 10 by Dr Mead's offsider, Andrew Moores, and then converted the information gained to a design for the reef which will replensih sand to our beach.
Progress of Feasibility StudyThe completed Feasibility Study was received in September 2011 when sent on to the Minister for Environment who sent it on to Water Research Laboratory division of the University of NSW for review. This review was completed by June, 2012, and forwarded to the scientist, Shaw Mead, for his answers to the questions raised and is still presently under discussion between Shaw Mead and the Water Research Laboratory.
Funding for the Off-Shore ReefsWe have discussed the reefs with both Rob.Oakeshott in the Federal Government and State Minister for Environment and Heritage Robyn Parker and both have commented that the funding is going to have to be shared by both governments. We have to work at ensuring the funding whilst we also work at providing sound reasons and support for this protection for our beach. If successful it will act as a pilot plan for other beaches along the NSW coast similarly affected .
Urgency to get reef installation commenced.The urgency for protection to our beach has become very obvious with the foredune moving back at an ever increasing rate, the littoral rainforest being demolished and scattered right along the beach. The beach is getting closer to the just completed new school buildings, the rate of erosion there being calculated at 10 metres a year. An area which is obvious to all is in front of the surf club and in particular the ramp used for launching the surf rescue boat which is constantly being restored moving ever closer to the surf club. The damage at the Lewis Street beach has eased off somewhat, but that beach still needs protection and sand replenishment - however, the fact that the damage is now extending far along Badgers and up to the surf club has increased our need for protection - 100 metres of reef covers 800 metres of beach – and with the length of beach needing protection at 1.2 kms. we have to get two reefs - BUT IF THAT IS WHAT WE HAVE TO DO WE HAVE TO DO IT!!!
PROGRESS - Worley Parsons Study and Council
At last the public exhibition of the Worley Parsons Management study has been completed. Our group is extremely disappointed with their costing for the "off-shore reef" which is far in excess of the figures we have seen for other reefs. We are doing our own investigations looking for detailed and accurate costings and to understand how the difference can be so great.
Recent changes to New South Wales Government Legislation has resulted in the postponement of the release of the Coastal Zone Management Plan yet again.
We are hoping that the plan for Old Bar will be the offshore reef and we are hoping that the completion of the feasibility study will prove its cost will be nowhere near the figure stated in the WP study and that the benefits will be as promised.
Then we will be approaching both State and Federal Governments for grants to cover the cost of building the reef, and we will be looking to the fact that we are the No.1 hotspot, having lost 3 homes and having 60 residences at high risk. This erosion is affecting the entire NSW Coast and the installation of an off-shore reef here in Old Bar could be used as a pilot plan for those other hot spots along the coast.
Origin and Need for
-- With attempted protection of eroding beachfronts very serious damage can happen in unexpected parts of the beach either north or south of the actual work. Also there is the much discussed rising sea level to be considered. Councils have an obligation to protect the funds of its ratepayers against claims for damages and need to be sure this does not happen with any work they undertake or approve.
Greater Taree City Council realized the erosion problem in 2005 and in August, 2005, applied to the then Department of infrastructure for funding to carry out a study - the "Coastal Hazard and Coastline Management Plan for Old Bar from Wallabi Point to Farquhar Inlet". This study was eventually commissioned to the Worley Parsons group in April 2008 and was extended in November 2008 to cover the entire coast of the Greater Taree City Area from Blackhead in the south to Crowdy Head in the north to comply with an instruction from the State Government that such a study had to be carried out by all councils affected by coastline erosion and sea level rise. In reply to any approach we have made to State or Federal Government it has been stated that we have to deal with the local government body, ie local council, but both State and Federal governments have laid down guide lines which control the council's actions, these being 1979 Coastal Protection Act, the 1997 NSW Coastal Policy and the more recent "draft Sea Level Rise Policy".
The final draft of the Worley Parsons Studies will be tabled on April 22, then after perusal by council it will be placed on public display for submissions by the public and all this should be completed by 30th June, 2010. Originally Worley Parsons had dismissed as not suitable for our beach "Groynes" or "off-shore reefs", but because of this group's continual research and constant updating of the success of both these forms of protection - we understand they are both being included as options BUT that the preferred option is the "planned retreat" formerly known as "do nothing". We, as a community, must deeply consider the extreme outcomes of this option. We will be given an opportunity to make a submission when this study goes on display.
It is important as a community to study the report, enquire and research the implications of each option, and make a submission. This is your right just as your right to vote and our group look to you to exercise that right for the good of the community.
Council's Position On Beachfront
Council has to be sure in approvals given and work done that there is no possibility of damage to other property - as stated above - Our group wants a report prepared by council's engineers on our submission for URGENT ACTION as the attached plan. We will continue our quiet protests until that is achieved. Here we need to refer the reader to the plan.
LONG TERM ACTION - Off-Shore Reef - Our long term plan as a result of our research is an off-shore reef. We had a recent visit from Dr. Shaw Mead, whose company, ASR Ltd. Based in New Zealand, has built and is building off-shore reefs successfully around the world. Attached is material supplied by Dr. Mead. A particularly interesting enclosure is the one "An Assessment of Coastal Protection Options to Reduce Erosion on Exposed Coasts" as this covers most accepted types of coastal protection. Note that Professor Kerry Black referred to is no longer with ASR Ltd. but is working from his home in Lombok, Indonesia.
The first knowledge of "off-shore reefs" came to us in March 2009 with contact with Prof. Andrew Short at Sydney University, then Prof. Kerry Black and then Prof. Shaw Mead of ASR Ltd. Dr.Mead offered to address our community on March 20, when he was in Australia making a presentation to the 7th International Surf Symposium at Bondi Beach and the University of NSW Water Research Laboratory.
Shaw, a most unlikely looking professor, fitted into our community like a local and could easily have been one of our own surfing lads. On arrival at Old Bar his first action was to check the beach and its erosion - a run south by himself and then north with Mark Searles our local surveyor.
Read Dr Shaw Mead's reports Off Shore Reef Action Plan 1
His address was extremely interesting and informative and the audience was captivated. The outcome as far as we are concerned is that a study has to be done to ascertain the best possible positioning of a reef. Then we needed to know:-
Question 1 - "How much will this study cost?" Answer - between $40,000 and $70,000 depending on studies available.
Question 2 - "How long from commencing study until the machines can start work?" Answer - possibly 8 months
Question 3 - "what is a likely cost of the actual off-shore reef installation?" Answer - around $3 million
We understand that this is all estimated costs and times, but we have to have somewhere to start. It is an astute person who asks for an estimate before considering the feasibility of a proposal.
LONG TERM ACTION - OFF-SHORE REEF
Whilst the seawalls and groynes protect the land we need to replenish the sand and Dr. Mead stated in his address that a 100 metre off-shore reef would accrete sand along an 800 metre stretch of the beach.