All set for Stockton beach nourishment project

Beach Nourishment

City of Newcastle has welcomed the news that a contract has been awarded to obtain and place 100,000 cubic meters of sand along the Stockton coastline from next month.

Photo courtesy of the City of Newcastle

“A huge amount of work has been undertaken to get to this point, and this is a very important day for the Stockton community and for City of Newcastle,” commented Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes.

“Our team has been working alongside the community for a number of years, developing the state’s first certified Coastal Management Program, securing the $21 million commitment from the NSW Government for mass sand nourishment, and now working collaboratively with Department of Regional NSW and NSW Public Works to see this much needed first round of amenity sand nourishment finally on its way to Stockton,” added Nelmes.

City of Newcastle’s Executive Director Planning and Environment, Michelle Bisson, acknowledged the significance of this first step.

“This 100,000 cubic meters will improve the beach experience for locals and visitors and importantly, provide some protection while investigations are underway into sources for the 2.4 million cubic meters of sand needed for mass sand nourishment,” Ms Bisson said.

“After a long and hard battle to restore Stockton Beach, I am very excited to announce that a sand dredging contract has been awarded today,” said State Member, Tim Crakanthorp. “This contract will put the first 100,000 cubic meters of sand back on the beach, commencing in October. It will be placed in the surf zone at the southern end of Stockton Beach.”

A specialist dredging vessel will be used to deposit sand collected from an outer shipping channel of Newcastle Harbour, known as ‘Area E’.

In October 2022, the NSW Government was successful in obtaining a $6.2 million grant through the Coastal and Estuarine Risk Mitigation Program, which includes $4.7 million from the Federal Government and $1.5 million from City of Newcastle.

In addition to the delivery of amenity sand nourishment, the grant funds the studies into possible sources of much larger volumes of sand from the North Arm of the Hunter River and offshore sources, as well as the environmental approvals required for mass sand nourishment – a complex process which has never before been undertaken in NSW.

Further efforts to shield Stockton’s coastline until mass sand nourishment continue with the construction of a buried protection structure at the southern end of the existing Mitchell Street seawall underway, and the draft Extended Stockton Coastal Management Program in the final stages of development ahead of public exhibition next year.

The next iteration of the program steps out an expanded list of management actions that support the long-term strategy of mass sand nourishment outlined in the 2020 Stockton CMP, and broadens the geographical area covered to include the northern end of Stockton Beach from Meredith Street to the Port Stephens Local Government Area boundary.