ILLAROO Road residents are elated in the wake of a landmark decision that paves the way to protect their homes from coastal erosion.
The group of residents and home owners had lived with uncertainty for four years as Port Macquarie-Hastings Council tackled the complex issue at Lake Cathie.
A draft report, which had recommended Illaroo Road homes be bought to deal with the problem, caused anxiety and sleepless nights for many.
Residents campaigned against the so-called “planned retreat” option in favour of protecting the area against coastal erosion.
The council decision on Wednesday night supported a revetment, or seawall, and beach nourishment.
Tam and Judith Grant bought their Illaroo Road home as for their future.
“That surety was just ripped away from us and it was devastating,” Mr Grant said about the planned retreat proposal.
Residents are even planning a party.
“It just gives us surety, and we have confidence if something goes wrong, it gives us the chance to realise the [property] value,” Mr Grant said.
Residents also point to the Illaroo Road’s popularity with cyclists, motorists, walkers, holidaymakers and people from the area.
Ann and Russel Secombe, aged 80 and 82 respectively, have lived in Illaroo Road for 33 years.
“It’s just really peace of mind now,” Mr Secombe said. “I will be able to take off every day fishing and not worry about this.”
Mrs Secombe said she no longer had to worry about having a burden to leave the children instead of something which might help them.
The council will move ahead with a coastal zone management plan for Lake Cathie, which incorporates a revetment and beach nourishment as key steps to protecting the area against coastal erosion.
It comes after a draft study’s 10-week consultation period triggered a record of more than 4600 submissions.
Four management options were examined: Planned retreat, a 400m-long revetment or seawall, beach nourishment and a groyne.
Council administrator Neil Porter said he could not ignore the fact that the majority of the submissions were in favour of a revetment and beach nourishment and Hasting LGA Coast and Estuaries Sub-committee.
The decision was met with applause from residents. Council development and environment director Matt
Rogers said a revetment wall had been costed at $3 million and, in addition, there would be costs for beach nourishment and annual maintenance costs estimated at $100,000.
People power: Tam and Judith Grant, Paul and Priscilla Flemming, Russel and Ann Secombe and Sandra and Brian Tobin celebrate the council decision.