The City of Newcastle will seek clarification on the NSW Government’s position on offshore sand extraction for nourishment and replenishment of Stockton Beach, following a successful Lord Mayoral Minute at this week’s Council meeting.
The minute cited advice from the UNSW’s Water Research Laboratory (WRL), commissioned by the NSW Government’s Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH), identifying offshore sand extraction as one of the only viable methods for large-scale beach nourishment along the open coast.
City of Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said that despite the expert advice, the NSW Government’s position remained unclear.
“A recent NSW Government-sponsored report identifies offshore sand extraction as possibly the only method to renourish Stockton Beach, however it remains unclear whether the NSW Government will support the use of this mechanism as a part of City of Newcastle’s Coastal Management Program,” Councillor Nelmes said.
“I want to thank the Stockton Community Liaison Group and the Newcastle Coastal Planning Working Group for the work they have done to date to address coastal erosion at Stockton,” Councillor Nelmes added. “This minute, supported by the City of Newcastle, and the groups currently assisting to develop our coastal management programs, simply seeks clarification about the use of offshore sand extraction for the replenishment of sand at Stockton Beach.”
“It is clear from my discussions with both groups that clarity from the NSW Government is urgently needed to move forward with our vital coastal planning and management,” Councillor Nelmes concluded.
Ron Boyd, a Stockton-based expert on coastal erosion, and member of the liaison group and the Newcastle Coastal Planning Working Group, said that clarification of the supply of marine sand for beach replenishment was a critical component of NSW coastal councils’ response to the Coastal Management Act of 2016.
“The severe sand erosion problem at Stockton can only be remediated by sand replenishment,” Associate Professor Boyd said. “There are limited options for sourcing this sand and the marine option may prove to be the most suitable and cost effective.”
“I’m aware that there’s an abundance of sand available on the inner shelf off Newcastle for this purpose, as well as a large sand deposit accumulating seaward of Nobbys Beach,” Ron Boyd added. “Many coastal councils would also be considering this option, and in the short window available to draft Coastal Management Programs, it’s critical to identify if this option is available and how to proceed to include it.”