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Keeping watch

The cameras would monitor beach conditions and erosion over the next five years.
The cameras would monitor beach conditions and erosion over the next five years. The Daily Examiner

RESIDENTS of Wooli may soon have some high-tech arsenal to help save their village from the ravages of coastal erosion.

Tonight, the council's civil and corporate committee was expected to recommend the installation of a digital beach surveillance array on top of the Wooli water tower.

It would allow Coastal Communities Protection Alliance - Wooli (CCPA) to monitor beach conditions and erosion over the next five years.

Concerns were raised in 2010 when Wooli was identified as one of 19 erosion hotspots along the NSW coastline under threat from a predicted increase in coastal erosion. Given the narrow spit of land, of which a portion of Wooli occupies, there were fears sections of the village would eventually be claimed by the ocean.

A number of solutions were raised, however, a draft plan produced by the Clarence Valley Council, which suggested the village should be progressively abandoned, caused concern among Wooli residents who were horrified at the idea of sacrificing portions of their village without putting up a fight.

In response, a number of residents formed the CCPA to investigate alternatives to planned retreat and try to fight the erosion instead - now it looks as though its latest project will come to fruition.

The array - worth about $20,000 - will include three high-definition digital cameras, computer equipment, solar panels and batteries.

It has been purchased by the group through community donations and fundraising.

According to the report prepared for the council's civil and corporate committee, the array will "record hourly images which are further processed to give a bird's eye view of the beach, and will be able to record changes in beach position over a long period of time".

According to the council report the data gathered from these cameras "supplements other beach monitoring activities and improves the volume and accuracy of data available to assess management options in the future".

The committee was expected to recommend the space on top of the tower be leased to the CCPA for at least five years and the usual fee to lease council property be waived as council staff stated the data gathered from the project would be valuable.

"The collaboration between the CCPA and council is expected to continue into the future in the interests of enhancing council and community understanding, and management, of beach and coastal hazard conditions at Wooli Beach," council staff wrote in the report.

"The beach monitoring cameras are a valuable component in collection of data to assist that objective."

For more information about the CCPA and the situation facing the village of Wooli, visit protectwooli.com.au.

Topics:  cctv clarence valley council environment erosion



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