Australia: New Plan Addresses Immediate Coastal Management Issues

Sunshine Coast Council has continued its commitment to protect and manage its coastline with the adoption of the Coastal Management Policy and Shoreline Erosion Management Plan.

Division 8 Councillor Jason O’Pray said the new coastal management policy and planning framework adopted at last week’s Ordinary Meeting, addressed both immediate and emerging coastal management issues.

Cr O’Pray said the Coastal Management Policy was imperative in guiding existing and future coastal management activities on council-managed land such as the sand nourishment works on Maroochydore Beach.

“The aim is to achieve continued long term protection and community use and enjoyment of coastal public land and assets,” Cr O’Pray said.

The policy also recognises the protection of private property as the responsibility of the owner.

“Forty years ago, some parts of the coastline were threatened with significant erosion after dunes had been compromised.

“That was a major lesson in understanding the importance of protecting the dunes and council’s planning policies since then have ensured 90% of our coastline has been preserved and able to withstand major erosion events, largely as a result of wide, revegetated sand dunes that act as protective barriers.

“We recognise it is more cost-effective to maintain healthy, resilient dunal buffers through sound planning and coastal management practices than through coastal protection works.”

However, Cr O’Pray said when necessary, council would protect those significant public assets identified in the Shoreline Erosion Management Plan.

The 10-year action plan describes the range of coastal processes and impacts on Sunshine Coast beaches,” Cr O’Pray said.

Management of the coastal environment and our natural assets means we need to find the right balance to address critical erosion while allowing natural coastal processes to occur.

“Research shows us that the majority of our coastline remains more or less stable due to the fact that when sand is eroded from dunes and beaches in a large storm, natural coastal processes deposit this material in sand bars and, over a number of months, the sand eventually returns to our beaches.”

Cr O’Pray said the Shoreline Erosion Management Plan identified 11 priority erosion issues for council-managed assets along with a range of management actions, many now underway.

Council acknowledges beaches are central to the coastal experience and lifestyle we all enjoy.

“They provide open space for recreation, habitat for native plants and animals, and support many businesses and industries that contribute to the Sunshine Coast economy.

“This is why we have developed the Coastal Management Policy and the Shoreline Erosion Management Plan – to protect and enhance all of those economic, social and environmental values of our wonderful Sunshine Coast beaches.”

Press Release, April 28, 2014

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