Council responding to recent erosion

Bass Coast Shire Council is responding to the recent erosion of a number of beaches across the Shire caused by extremely high tides, combined with strong winds and large swells.

As a manager of coastal reserves, Council’s initial response has been to assess affected areas and undertake works to protect public safety. In several instances, this has meant closing off beach access tracks and warning beach users through hazard signage.

Bass Coast Mayor, Cr Jordan Crugnale, said the second step in Council’s response is to undertake works required to reopen closed tracks or provide longer term solutions.

“In some instances, this can be as simple as moving sand around with machinery; however, in other locations this may take longer, due to the need to find funding and approvals for larger scale infrastructure works,” Cr Crugnale said.

One of the areas impacted most by recent erosion is the section of the Cowes Main Beach between the Cowes Jetty and Mussel Rocks, including the grassed embankment.

“Council understands that this is one of the most popular and iconic foreshores in the municipality, so works and future planning must take this into consideration,” Cr Crugnale said.

At this beach, Council initial response was to reduce any risk to the public by restricting access with temporary fencing and signage. At the western end of the bay, an excavator has moved beach sand to reinstate the eroded embankment.

“This short-term response was required to cover irrigation piping that was exposed by the erosion, posing an immediate risk. The works have also been used as a trial to determine the effectiveness of sand renourishment,” Cr Crugnale said.

At some of the larger slopes, a mid-term approach includes plans to extend the timber rail fence to minimise both the risk of falling to the public and further erision from foot traffic.

Planning is also underway to install additional timber beach access stairs and viewing platforms.

Cr Crugnale said Council is also looking towards longer term prevention and solutions.

“If erosion continues to exceed natural sand deposition, a solution may be to construct protective structures. We are currently working with the Department of Environment, Water, Land and Planning (DELWP) and seeking funding to investigate the feasibility of these structures and other solutions for the longer-term protection of the embankment.”

For more information, please contact Council’s Coast and Busland Team on 1300 BCOAST (226 278) or (03) 5671 2211.