Planning Minister flags sand scraping solution for Old Bar Beach erosion

NSW Minister for Planning, Rob Stokes. Photo: Kate Geraghty - Sydney Morning Herald.
NSW Minister for Planning, Rob Stokes. Photo: Kate Geraghty - Sydney Morning Herald.

NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes this week advised Old Bar Beach Sand Replenishment Group that “sand scraping from the southern entrance to Farquahar Inlet should commence sooner rather than later.”

That is the assertion of group president Elaine Pearce after a meeting with Mr Stokes on January 9 and she says “it will be done by truck, south to the worst eroded areas” and describes it as a “very reasonable and low cost interim solution.”

“This is fantastic news for the local community,” Elaine said. “It was like music to our ears, after such a long time of waiting for something to be done we now have a way forward that at least in the interim provides some security.”

Mrs Pearce said the “minister advised that acting on the solution falls to the newly formed MidCoast Council and would come under council funding.”

“He advised that he would hold discussions with the council in regard to the proposal and that he would offer help to see some positive action on Old Bar Beach.”

Mrs Pearce said the group’s next step would be to write to MidCoast Council to urge it to “progress this matter immediately and to inform the community of the outcome of discussions it has with the minister in relation to funding.”

Also present at the meeting was Professor Bruce Thom and former chair of the NSW Coastal Panel, both consultants to the Office of Environment and Heritage and the minister’s office, according to Mrs Pearce. 

She said the group sought the meeting to “discuss an immediate solution to the erosion of Old Bar Beach.”

The decision to seek a meeting with the minister followed the merger of Greater Taree, Great Lakes and Gloucester councils to form MidCoast Council.

“The loss of our local council made this issue just one of many for the much larger council.

“We took matters into our own hands and requested a meeting with the minister because we felt the momentum had been lost. We need a solution for Old Bar.”