By Grahame Cherrett
Farquhar Inlet is so blocked with sand that mangroves are now growing in the middle of the inlet.
This seriously affects commercial and recreational fishing, the prawn and oyster industries and tourism. Dredging would have solved these problems and now the opening is blocked completely.
We need to exert pressure to get that sand out of the Inlet onto Old Bar Beach – where it came from. The lack of flow down the Manning River because of low rainfall has caused the entrance to close. But council tells us they will not be undertaking action to open this entrance anytime soon. Council is responsible for the management of the Farquhar Inlet.
Old Bar Beach Sand Replenishment Group (OBBSRG) president, Elaine Pearce says: "This appears an ideal time to use the Worley Parsons suggested ‘inland lake with notch’ and utilise the sand, 30,000 cubic metres, to replenish Old Bar beach before it is washed out to sea in a great flood."
Mrs Pearce is frustrated. She quotes International Coastal Engineer, Angus Jackson’s in an email in July 2014: "NSW have never been greatly proactive with beach management works and has done almost no nourishment. Just reports and planning approaches. It seems to me that the harsh reality is that NSW will continue to spend huge amounts of money drawing red hazard lines along the coast until sometime in the future when Qld has beaches, and the tourists from NSW, and NSW has erosion, no beaches and more court cases. We can suggest really good engineering solutions but presently it is really the political / legal issues that need to be solved first."
MidCoast Council has done everything asked of them thus far.
Andrew Staniland, project manager at MidCoast Council, has submitted the required plans and licence application for sand scraping to the Department of Industry Crown Lands on October 11. As soon as council receives the permission from Crown Lands, a commencement date will be set.
We can benefit from the experience of Byron Shire Council which has been sand scraping New Brighton beach over many years.
In April 2017, MidCoast Council submitted a grant application to the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) requesting $100,000 of funding to develop the Racecourse Creek Floodplain Study and Risk Management Plan. If funding is successful, council will contribute $50,000 to the project.
Final determination of the grant sits with the NSW Minister for the Environment, Gabrielle Upton.
Mr Staniland has commenced the required documentation to engage multiple consultants for the Old Bar Manning Point Coastal Management Plan (CMP).
No poppy appeal this year
As reported earlier this year, NSW State Branch of the RSL banned all fund raising for all RSL organisations in NSW from August 7, 2017.
At Old Bar, this affects the RSL sub-branch as well as the Barwalla RSL Day Club. This decision seriously affects small sub-branches, much more than large sub-branches who may have multiple sources of revenue.
It was hoped that poppy sales would be allowed, but in a recent communication from State Branch, it was advised that poppy sales could not go ahead and any person or RSL entity that defied this order could face legal action.
In recognition of the significant connection between Remembrance Day and the poppy, State Branch has decided to forward a number of poppies to each sub-branch, free of charge, for distribution to the public, free of charge.
If you are the recipient of a poppy in Old Bar, please do not embarrass the giver by offering payment. No payment or donation can be accepted.