THREE months to engage, assess and report.
That is the deadline to be imposed on Greater Taree City Council by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) in regard to determining what is the best method to protect the entirety of Old Bar Beach from coastal erosion.
The government will foot 90 per cent of the bill for an engineers report with council set to pick-up the rest of the cost, according to member for Myall Lakes, Stephen Bromhead.
Mr Bromhead met with environment minister, Robyn Parker in Sydney on Wednesday to discuss the decision of the NSW Coastal Panel to reject a development application for a "soft seawall" at Old Bar Beach.
The proposed wall was set to protect a severely eroded section of beach that impacts Meridian Resort and Lewis Street.
The ministerial meeting also focused on a newly proposed 'Plan B' to construct an Aussea Wall that could be built in a joint funding arrangement with the NSW government, Meridian Resort and Aussea Wall.
Mr Bromhead said "quick action is needed and that is why the engineer assessment and reporting process is going to be wrapped up within three months."
He said the "terms of reference were 99 per cent complete and should be signed off within the week". Council would then be required to seek and engage engineers to assess and report within that timeframe."
Mr Bromhead said the ministerial discussions focused on the need to protect the entirety of Old Bar Beach and not just a section of the beach.
The Times raised community concerns about the efficacy of council with Mr Bromhead.
He said the government would have a "guiding hand in overseeing this process."
That "guiding hand" reached into council on Wednesday, August 7, when OEH staff met with council.
In a prepared statement, mayor Paul Hogan said "the meeting drew up an action plan which will help to put all the realistic options on the table and to move towards a permanent solution.
"A study will be prepared that thoroughly examines all viable options to address the erosion at Old Bar Beach.
"This is a priority for council, and a joint working party involving senior OEH and council staff has been established. This working party will oversee completion of this project as quickly as is feasible."
It would seem council now has a deadline, and it's three months.