WA News

Seabird erosion: 'emergency' funding sits idle while coastline crumbles

Ratepayers in the WA coastal town of Seabird are fuming as $2 million 'emergency' funding, which was awarded six months ago to halt dramatic beach erosion, sits idle.

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Seabird erosion

Seabird ratepayers fume as 'emergency' funding sits idle.

The state granted Royalties for Regions funding in June to help the town, which neighbours Lancelin, where homes, power lines and even a road, once 20 metres from the water, now teeter atop a disintegrating dune.

Seabird Progress Association president Garry Thomas said concrete matting from the first stage of the temporary solution, which was implemented soon after the funding announcement, had now been undermined.  

About half the 'mats' have had filler sand washed away from behind them and have moved, allowing further erosion to threaten the properties behind, with half a front lawn and a portion of a front wall already lost. 

Mr Thomas said tourists were stopping to goggle at the spectacle of the ruined beach while the Shire of Gingin waited on engineers to complete a design for emergency works that would then go out to tender.

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He expected no construction before the traditionally big swells begin to batter the coast in March.

"It's totally disregarding why the money was allocated – so that temporary works could be completed," he said.

"We, the residents, thought the design and construction could be one package because of the urgency.

"But all these bureaucrats are getting their hats in the ring."

Mr Thomas said there had been so much design work commissioned on potential solutions in recent years that there was no need for more consultants.  

Shire president David Roe said the Shire was acting as quickly as possible.  

He said the state government would not release funding until the shire had demonstrated its solution was reasonable and justified.

The second stage of the temporary solution was more complex than the concrete matting and Mr Roe said it required further research and detailed design before a construction tender could be advertised.

The design component for what he called a "substantive and very unique engineering solution" was due for completion by February, after which a tender would be advertised and awarded.

"It is good to see that the emergency temporary works that the Shire initiated in July 2015 have held up and protected the properties at risk," he said.

He said the community had been kept informed and the project remained a priority. 

Coastal engineering firms have designed several potential solutions in the past two years including a foreshore rock wall, a sandbag wall, and an offshore reef. All were costed at under $2 million.

Environmental effects such structures could have along the coast are unclear.

It is expected that any solution would give five to 10 years relief in order for a longer-term strategy to be developed.

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