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Four intense east coast lows lowered and narrowed beaches and exposed seawalls at Sydney’s Narrabeen, Cronulla, Dee Why and Manly beaches: potential danger for summer swimmers, houses in erosion zone

Posted by gmarkets on 22 September, 2007

 Four intense lows on the east coast have brought waves powerful enough to strip sand from beaches and cause erosion, reported The Daily Telegraph (13/8/2007, p. 8).

Hazard to summer beach goers: From Newcastle to Wollongong beaches were stripped bare, swallowed by the ocean and eroded. The headland at Norah Head on the Central Coast was sliding into the sea and on to the beach. Houses along Narrabeen and Collaroy beaches, on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, built within the erosion danger zone were also on shaky ground. Sand sucked from the beaches had been deposited in bars offshore. The stripped beaches, widespread erosion and exposed sea walls could spell danger for summer swimmers. “The storms have lowered and narrowed beaches and exposed sea walls at Sydney’s Narrabeen, Cronulla, Dee Why and Manly beaches, which may be a hazard to beach-goers,” University of Sydney Institute of Marine Science lecturer Dr Peter Cowell said. Curl Curl’s seawall was exposed, South Newport beach was slashed and treacherous scarps, cliffs of eroded sand, formed at Avalon, Dee Why and Collaroy. Dr Cowell said the last erosion of this magnitude was in the 1970s when houses were undermined and damaged at Narrabeen and Bilgola. Newcastle’s Stockton Beach, Wollongong’s Waniora Point and Thirroul, and Terrigal and Wamberal near Gosford have also shrunk.

Houses built within erosion zone: Residents at Narrabeen and Collaroy were most precariously placed because, despite a protective sea wall, houses had been built on sand within the natural beach erosion zone. Those beaches had receded 35m and lost 4m of depth, stripping most of the sand the council had dumped on the beaches from Narrabeen Lagoon. Around 1000 tonnes of sand was scraped up and moved back to Bondi and Tamarama after high winds swept it inland on to parks and roads. About 60 per cent of the NSW coastline was sandy beaches. Seasonal erosion was a natural phenomenon but it could take several years for the beaches to return to their pre-winter sizes.

The Daily Telegraph, 13/8/2007, p. 8

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