Coastal erosion decision looms

Uncertainty: Port Macquarie-Hastings Council's development and environmental services director, Matt Rogers.

Uncertainty: Port Macquarie-Hastings Council's development and environmental services director, Matt Rogers.

A STATE government response to a key coastal management document dealing with coastal erosion at Lake Cathie is expected by the end of the month.

The Lake Cathie Coastal Zone Management Plan, which contains information from studies and lists potential funding arrangements for a rock revetment wall with beach nourishment adjacent to Illaroo Road, hinges on the ministerial tick of approval.

NSW Environment Minister Rob Stokes certified the Coastal Zone Management Plan for Old Bar but rejected a plan to build a rock revetment wall.

He said the proposed Old Bar revetment wall would have cost $50 million and its lifespan was limited to about 50 years.

Mr Stokes said the community should not see the Old Bar decision as a precedent.

"The whole point of our approach to coastal erosion and integrated coastal management is that every embayment [coastline recess] is different," he said.

Mr Stokes said the government would make decisions based on rational evidence and a thorough assessment of the environmental, social and economic consequences of the plans which councils put forward.

Port Macquarie-Hastings Council's development and environmental services director Matt Rogers said he felt a lot of uncertainty, given the Old Bar decision, but ministerial certification of the plan was always the final step.

"Old Bar and Lake Cathie are very different in terms of coastal dynamics," he said.

Mr Rogers said the extent of the two revetment wall proposals and the costs were also very different.

Port Macquarie MP Leslie Williams also highlighted the differences between the Lake Cathie and Old Bar revetment wall proposals, and said the public infrastructure component again made the Lake Cathie situation very different to Old Bar.

She said the whole idea of the coastal zone management plan was that they demonstrated the characteristics of a particular part of the coastal zone and gave consideration to address coastal erosion.

The minister will take advice from the NSW Coastal Panel before making his decision.

Lake Cathie Coastal Residents Group spokesman Paul Flemming said he was hopeful and confident the minister would certify the coastal zone management plan with the rock revetment wall.

"We look forward to Illaroo Road being looked at on a balanced basis of the environmental, economic and social issues, and we are confident that the great amenity which it provides to the community and to visitors will warrant the construction of the revetment," he said.

The detailed design for a rock revetment wall is substantially complete.


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