Wonnerup beach dispute woes

Tom Edwards, BUSSELTON DUNSBOROUGH TIMESBusselton Dunsborough Times
Wonnerup beach dispute woesLayman Road resident Barry Faithfull says Port Geographe is directly to blame for the erosion of Wonnerup Beach.
Camera IconWonnerup beach dispute woesLayman Road resident Barry Faithfull says Port Geographe is directly to blame for the erosion of Wonnerup Beach. Credit: Gordon Becker

The State Government is locked in a dispute with Wonnerup residents over their disappearing beach.

The residents blame Port Geographe for the erosion of Wonnerup beach and want the Department of Transport to address the problem as part of its $28.15 million rescue package.

Layman Road resident Barry Faithfull said the dual use path in front of his house had been washed away and two thirds of a path he built when subdividing his block had gone.

Mr Faithfull said he had lost between 60 and 70 metres of beach in the past 16 years but the rate of erosion had increased dramatically in the last two years.

“They (the Department of Transport) are still in denial that the groynes or the construction of Port Geographe has influenced the erosion of Wonnerup, but we have documented proof, " he said.

“They won’t admit their guilt; they won’t take responsibility because they don’t want to spend the money fixing it.”

The DoT says extra sand had been being delivered to Wonnerup, improving the beach width and profile and better reflecting the final design of the reconfiguration project.

DoT general manager coastal infrastructure Steve Jenkins told the Times a comprehensive sand monitoring and management program had been implemented to better track sand movement across the entire project area.

Mr Jenkins said this would permit a detailed assessment prior to winter 2015 and if necessary further works would be undertaken to remedy sand volumes.

Mr Faithful said the department had replenished 1000 cubic metres of sand in front of his house about a month ago.

However, he said this was a temporary measure and it had already started to erode.

“We hope the reconfiguration of the groynes will work…but (it will) probably be five to ten years before we see any benefit, ” he said.

City of Busselton finance and corporate services director Matthew Smith said stakeholders acknowledged it may be several seasons before the success of the groyne reconfiguration could be measured. “The Department of Transport has advised it will continue to monitor the condition of Wonnerup Beach, ” Mr Smith said.

“The City will continue to work with DoT and advocate for local residents.

“It’s important to note, however, that the coastal maintenance obligation for Port Geographe now rests with the State Government, ” he said.

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