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Erosion spat flares after storm as beaches washed away

Storm surge has claimed up to ten metres of beach and trees. Torquay Caravan Park BBQ shelter, picnic table and trees have been lost to mother nature.
Storm surge has claimed up to ten metres of beach and trees. Torquay Caravan Park BBQ shelter, picnic table and trees have been lost to mother nature. Valerie Horton

THE council's foreshore management policy has come under fire in the wake of severe erosion damage in Hervey Bay.

As the clean up and repair work along the foreshore continues today, Rod Dudgeon has blasted the council for leaving the area vulnerable to such damage.

"This is another wake-up call for the FCRC," Mr Dudgeon said.

Fraser Coast Mayor Gerard O'Connell said this was not the time to get into a debate about foreshore clearing.

Cr O'Connell said the council was standing by its foreshore management plan, which he said was the result of extensive community consultation and expert advice. Mr Dudgeon said he warned the council not to clear any more vegetation from the foreshore, with a petition of more than 2500 signatures.

"The more trees and vegetation the FCRC removes from the foreshore the more vulnerable the foreshore becomes to erosion due to tidal surge and strong winds," he said.

Mr Dudgeon was very critical of the clearing of cottonwoods.

He said that in areas where the cottonwoods had been left alone, such as Organ Park, the erosion damage was less than in areas where they had been thinned or cleared, such as at the entrance to The Pines park.

"It is significant that where vegetation and trees were not chopped out completely, or lower limbs chopped off, or understorey removed, particularly with regard to the cottonwoods, which were planted specifically to help prevent erosion and other damage due to tidal surge and strong winds, that these damaging effects were far less in the recent severe weather event."

Speaking to the Chronicle while on his way to Burrum Heads from Maryborough, Cr O'Connell said it was more important to deal with the crises facing residents in those areas for now.

He said the erosion damage from the weekend was the result of a "ferocious storm" that was strong enough to wreck sturdy infrastructure such as rock walls.

The issue also attracted debate on the Chronicle website after readers saw erosion photos.

Topics:  erosion, flood, flooding, foreshore, foreshore clearing, hervey bay, oswald, storm


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