24. January 2022

Collaroy Beach a ‘hellscape’ as sand in front of seawall washed away: residents


Northern seashores residents have been fearful about how their beloved seaside would fare when giant swells and excessive tides hit the controversial Collaroy seawall. They had been involved the sand straight in front of the seawall could be washed away, eroding their seaside, and, on Tuesday, that’s precisely what occurred.

The erosion occasion at Collaroy Beach is way from an remoted incidence. Other seashores alongside the jap shoreline have additionally skilled heavy erosion and scientists worry local weather change will solely make these occasions extra frequent and extra intense.

King tides and the after-effects of ex-tropical cyclone Seth have caused erosion at Collaroy Beach.

King tides and the after-effects of ex-tropical cyclone Seth have induced erosion at Collaroy Beach.Credit:Brook Mitchell

Patrick Allan has continued an virtually 100-year-old household custom of residing in Collaroy, spending years browsing the waves, however he’s planning on leaving the small seaside suburb. The constructing of the seawall was the ultimate nail in the coffin.

“I’ve watched council do everything, dump truck loads of asbestos and everything here over the years, but now they’ve let this private development application come through which is going to kill this beach,” he mentioned. “The full effects of the seawall won’t be known until they finish.”

“This is my home, but the beach and the whole area have changed.”

The coastal strip was pummelled throughout a huge storm in 2016. Homes had been broken and a swimming pool was pulled into the ocean, costing owners and native authorities virtually $25 million to repair. Another two large storms additional eroded the sand dune in July 2020.

Collaroy resident Patrick Allan has lived in the suburb his whole life but is moving away with the seawall the final nail in the coffin.

Collaroy resident Patrick Allan has lived in the suburb his complete life however is shifting away with the seawall the ultimate nail in the coffin. Credit:Brook Mitchell

Since then, residents, council and the state authorities have been working to guard the properties and seaside from storm surges, with present work together with constructing a seven-metre-tall concrete wall.

Once accomplished, a minimum of three-quarters of the wall will probably be lined by sand. The mission stretches 1.3 kilometres from Collaroy to South Narrabeen, encompassing 49 non-public properties dotted with 11 public land areas, which embody a automobile park and a surf membership.

But not everyone seems to be pleased with the mission. Earlier this 12 months, residents lined the seaside in a bid to encourage the council to speculate in different measures to guard the seaside, together with a nourishment plan that might artificially exchange the sand. The local people group has been protesting in opposition to a seawall for nearly 30 years.

Senior lecturer on the University of NSW Water Research Laboratory Mitchell Harley mentioned annual king tides had mixed with ex-tropical cyclone Seth to create north-easterly waves that had resulted in coastal erosion alongside Collaroy and different seashores alongside the east coast.

“Collaroy normally gets waves from the south and has a big headland that protects the beach from waves, but the combination of large tides and unusually north-east waves make beaches that would normally be protected, exposed,” he mentioned.

He mentioned extra analysis could be wanted to find out the extent the seawall performed in Tuesday’s erosion occasion, however that north-easterly waves had been definitely a key driver in drawing sand off the seaside.

University of Sydney coastal geomorphologist Professor Andrew Short mentioned coastal erosion occasions had been prone to develop into extra frequent as local weather change elevated the probability of tropical cyclones and east coast lows.

“They are predicted to be more likely and more intense. It’s a double whammy,” he mentioned.

“Most communities are built on the southern end of beaches but they will be more exposed to the impacts of erosion because of easterly storms. Governments and coastal managers need to be aware and plan for those coming changes.”

President of the northern beaches branch of the Surfrider Foundation, Brendan Donohue, surveys the damage on Tuesday.

President of the northern seashores department of the Surfrider Foundation, Brendan Donohue, surveys the injury on Tuesday. Credit:Brook Mitchell

President of the northern seashores department of the Surfrider Foundation, Brendan Donohoe, mentioned Tuesday’s situations had been treacherous to beachgoers, leaving Collaroy Beach a “hellscape”.


“It was a public beach, now it’s a public hazard,” he mentioned. “If we get another big swell over the next few weeks, unless the council mechanically moves sand in, this beach will be impassable.”

He added that, whereas Tuesday’s situations had been reasonable, there have been actual issues about how the shoreline would fare throughout bigger erosion occasions.

Mr Donohoe and different involved residents will attend a council growth utility assembly opposing plans to construct the following part of the seawall in the approaching months.

A Northern Beaches Council spokesperson mentioned the current climate had induced minor erosion at Collaroy and Narrabeen, together with different places in the world.


“This level of erosion is not uncommon during large swell and tide events of this nature and is not a direct result of the seawall under construction. The beach will recover once conditions ease,” the spokesperson mentioned.

“The rocks exposed from the recent high tides and large swell are part of the temporary rock bund that is protecting the seawall being built during construction which will ultimately be removed once construction is complete.

The scene after the storm damaged properties at Collaroy in 2016.

The scene after the storm damaged properties at Collaroy in 2016. Credit:Peter Rae

“The bund extends approximately 10 metres seaward and has been inspected and is intact. No other construction material has been observed washing into the sea. The area will continue to be monitored for safety and access.”

The seaside was closed on Wednesday on account of highly effective surf situations.

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