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$7m rock wall ‘last chance’ to protect foreshore

A draft aerial vignette image of the hybrid wall at the Hervey Bay Sailing Club.
A draft aerial vignette image of the hybrid wall at the Hervey Bay Sailing Club. Contributed

THERE is "no other option" to protect Hervey Bay's beaches from devastating sand erosion than to build a $7 million rock and sandbagged wall, the council claims.

The multi-million Hervey Bay Shoreline Management Plan maps the foreshore from Halcro St in Pialba to Dayman Park in Urangan.

It includes using a combination of beach nourishment, sand-filled bags and rock to build revetment walls to protect the foreshore.

Stretching almost nine kilometres, the Hervey Bay foreshore is vulnerable to northerly winds coupled with a high tide.

In 2013 ex-Tropical Cyclone Oswald ripped through the region, with big swells and strong winds lashing businesses and beaches on the Esplanade.

Work on the plan started soon after significant erosion was caused last year by king tides and northerlies and ex-Tropical Cyclone Oswald the year before.

Mayor Gerard O'Connell said doing nothing "wasn't an option" and hours of work had gone into developing the plan.

"It looked at a variety of options from beach nourishment, sand-filled bags to rock walls and included laboratory testing using models of the walls in water tanks," he said.

Infrastructure councillor Trevor McDonald said once the State Government had signed off the council would call for tenders.

"To start with, the work will concentrate on priority foreshore areas in Torquay near the Hervey Bay Surf Life Saving Club, the Hervey Bay Sailing Club, Torquay Caravan Park, Ron Beaton Park, Bill Fraser Park, and extending the existing Shelly Beach rock wall," he said.

Thousands of tonnes of rocks and about 24,000 cubic metres of sand will be needed to build the walls and fill the sandbags.

In Torquay Aquavue Cafe will have sandbags protecting the renovated building.

Owner Larry Burch said he would prefer a rock wall similar to the one built outside Enzo's Cafe at Scarness.

"Sandbags, they might last two years, they might last 20," he said.

"Rock walls have stood the test of time.

But Mr Burch said building codes had meant new rock walls weren't visually appealing.

Investigations will continue into the economic and environmental feasibility of taking sand from the growing spits in the bay to rebuild the foreshore.

Outdoor councillor Darren Everard said all he could do was have "faith in science" the rocks would work.

"If we get a decent storm come through we're going to be buggered - it doesn't matter how many trees you've got there," he said.

Topics:  ex-tropical cyclone oswald rock wall



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