Warning to stay clear of beaches and rock platforms as big seas pound coast

Picture: Maria Orlova on

WITH large waves measuring six to seven metres and high tides forecast over the next few days, visitors to beaches and coastal rock platforms are advised to be cautious this weekend.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has issued a severe weather warning for damaging surf and abnormally high tides along the coast from today until Monday.

Wollongong City Council has been working closely with the NSW Department Planning, Industry and Environment to better understand the potential impact on beaches ahead of the challenging conditions.

The latest predictions are that the waves will be directed from a southerly direction along the coast initially and then moving into a more south-easterly direction through Sunday and Monday.

A number of one tonne bulker bags will be placed around scarping at Bellambi Point to reduce additional erosion from the large swells. The current expert advice provided to Council is that the threat to Sandon Point Aboriginal Place’s dune system is predicted to be minimal with sandbagging not required at this time. Council, as well as key stakeholders, will closely monitor conditions at this location across the next few days.

Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said the BOM are predicting a large and intense low pressure system today and tomorrow, that coincide with high tides.

“I know there has been community interest in erosion events at Sandon Point in recent times and we are putting in place plans to respond quickly should the current advice around this site’s risk change,” Cr Bradbery said.

Council has also placed sandbags around the northern base of Wharton’s Creek Bridge at Bulli, and is monitoring its base, which has seen some movement of sand. The sandbags are in place to help protect the bridge against further damage.

“We know our community loves to check out the beach and sea conditions during this type of weather events and I’m just asking that everyone take caution,” Cr Bradbery said.

“For rock fishers on any of our platforms – it’s a no-go. Please, put your safety first.”

Cr Bradbery said beaches are at risk of coastal erosion because there are a number of factors that come into play like the direction of the forecast wave heights and the timing of the high tides.

“As a precaution we’ve used this information and have undertaken steps to shield some spots on our coastline. In addition, we will have staff out and about across today, the weekend and into next week monitoring the conditions and our coastal zone.

“The coast is a dynamic environment and we are seeing some high sand levels on our beaches at the moment. It’s likely these conditions will see some scarping – or where the waves cut into the sand – and some movement of sand.’’

Council crews have also put in place measures to protect the currently exposed sites along North Beach in front of the North Wollongong Surf Club where works have started on the new seawall and clubhouse refurbishment. This includes the use of two tiers of large bulker bags filled with sand on top of the uncovered areas.

“As our community would expect, Council has been working closely with key stakeholders over the past few days to ensure we’ve got the right measures in place for the right locations,’’ Cr Bradbery said.

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About Mick Roberts

A journalist, writer and historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of Australian pubs and associated industries for over 30 years. He is working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides writing a number of history books, Mick managed several community newspapers. He has been editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limited), the Sydney city newspaper, City News, and Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW.


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