IT should cost only $200,000 at most rather than millions to ensure continued protection of Maroochydore Beach and the Pincushion Caravan Park community and environmental groups have claimed.

Separate analysis done by coastal engineers for Don’t Rock the Maroochy and Sunshine Coast Environment Council has questioned Sunshine Coast Council’s preferred options that don’t include the simple remedy of replacing the 5% of geotextile bags that have been damaged or gone missing which could be replaced for between $150,000 and $200,000.

SCEC campaigner Narelle McCarthy said instead the council’s own fact sheet identified a 200 metre rock groyne as the “most beneficial option” to replace the existing sand groynes in Maroochy estuary.

She said the supporting engineering studies (JBP Maroochy Groynes CBA Final Report) admit the recommendation was based on an “early conceptual design only”.

Ms McCarthy said the report acknowledged the use of single terminal groynes has widely-documented positive and negative effects, the latter notably including reduced sand supply to northern beaches.

In a statement Don’t Rock the Maroochy as urged all ratepayers to engage in consultation sessions to begin next week and to demand the money being proposed to be spent on a rock wall solution instead be spent on needed infrastructure in the own divisions.

It said thousands of jobs and businesses were dependent on the region’s natural attraction, the continued erosion of which by hard engineering could threaten the tourism industry.

“Given the vast amount of things that need to be done in every council division to maintain existing infrastructure and to build and maintain new infrastructure, as a ratepayer to the Sunshine Coast Council, you don’t want to see large amounts of your money being spent on something which doesn’t really need to be done and fixing something that isn’t broken,” it said.

The group says existing geotextile groynes have done the job they were designed to do.

It said a council-commissioned a condition report on the groynes from ICM (International Coastal Management, the company that designed the groynes found they were still working and doing the job they were designed to do and that the containers (bags)were sound and still had an 8-10 years working life still left in them.

Of the original 3500 geotextile bags only 5% required replacement.

It claims a council-commissioned Cost Benefit Analysis from JB Pacific appeared to ignored that as an option and instead offered five alternatives all costing in excess of $2m with all but one involving the use of rock material.

Those options are: removal of existing geo textile groynes and their replacement with new geotextile bags ($2.6m); replacement of the geo textile groynes with new rock groynes ($5.73m); a new 200m long seaward facing rock groyne at Cotton Tree ($4.09m minimum); re-establishment of a northern river channel for the Maroochy River, by the mechanical re-construction of a beach connecting Pin Cushion Island to Cotton Tree ($7.53m minimum); re-establishment of a northern river channel for the Maroochy River, by the construction of a new rock breakwater connecting Pin Cushion Island to Cotton Tree ($8.47m minimum).

Ms McCarthy described the two options to permanently train the river to the northern channel as “an expensive waste of time to evaluate as they would be highly unlikely to gain State approvals” and urged people to attend the community information sessions to ask questions.

“Even though these sessions are disappointingly described by Council as information sessions rather than being proper community consultation, it is imperative people attend to share their views” she said.

(Source: Bill Hoffman, Sunshine Coast Daily, 12 August 2017)

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