Attempts to save Whiting Beach from erosion have failed, leaving a gaping hole in one of Yamba's favourite beaches.
Attempts to save Whiting Beach from erosion have failed, leaving a gaping hole in one of Yamba's favourite beaches. Grafton Daily Examiner

Death of a beach

YAMBA stands to lose one of its most popular family beaches to erosion, following failed attempts to replenish sand on its shores.

Access to Whiting Beach yesterday became a safety issue after high seas left rocks and concrete exposed below its banks and up to two-and-a-half metre drops from its scarp.

Richard Hagley, team leader of the Department of Environment and Climate Change Coastal and Floodplain Programs for the Upper North Coast, said the problem of erosion at Whiting Beach was difficult to address. It was primarily a natural process exacerbated by easterly swells.

“There's very little we can do,” Mr Hagley said.

He said the broad range of strategies that could be implemented to mitigate erosion were expensive and raised a number of concerns.

“The Lower Clarence environment is variable, with lots of islands coming and going,” Mr Hagley said.

The Department of Lands carried out a sand dredging program at the mouth of the Clarence River last year at an estimated cost of $200,000, depositing 4000-cubic metres of sand on Whiting Beach, most of which has now returned to the shipping channel.

Beach nourishment like this would need to be carried out on a regular basis to combat erosion, and other strategies such as large structural mechanisms are problematic because of water depths.

Clarence Valley Council Manager for Environment and Open Spaces, Peter Birch, said that a co-ordinated effort between council, DECC and the Department of Lands was needed to mitigate the rate of recession.

He said that 'dredging obviously was not a solution if the beach was going to end up like this in 12 months time'.

Mr Birch said that today he would access the situation at Whiting Beach.



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