Time constraints prevented me from making a simple point from the floor of last Friday’s public meeting concerning the Inverloch Surf Parade path.
That and the fact that I used up my allocated time trying to apply some reason to other attendant issues which had been raised with some frustration, and perhaps just needed a bit more information to be better understood.
So I hope at least I may have contributed towards fostering a broader understanding of the elected councillor’s position amongst this vexed process.
But I was then left with my own frustration at not being able to address what I see as the pivotal issue in this argument.
And the point is that our elected representatives are not elected to gamble.
And yet that is what they are being asked to do in this regard.
The reason for this was underlined by the guest speaker, Professor David Kennedy, in his excellent and informative address on the dynamics of long term beach behaviour.
From observations of his own and also from local knowledge coming from the floor, it is obvious that there is a long term fluctuation of sand coming and going at Inverloch surf beach, as at many other beaches in many other places.
The stand out point from his address, however, was the consequences which occur when the high points of these fluctuations meet man made infrastructure, which is then defended with even greater infrastructure.
What simply happens is that the forces contained within the system get directed to the edges of the manmade obstacle, amplifying erosion at those points.
So if Bass Strait breaks through the primary sand dune at some time in the future, then our attempts to protect existing infrastructure will change coastal dynamics so much that all bets will be off as regards the rest of the surf beach.
Whether this is going to happen any time soon is a completely open question.
Our councillors are elected to make informed decisions with the best information available to them, and if they feel that they have insufficient information then the onus is upon them to get some more.
They are not elected to blindly and uncritically tick off on schemes put to them by the Shire Infrastructure Department, especially when this is the same department which has just foisted the absurd Surf Parade chicanes upon us, without even bothering to find out if the local CFA can actually negotiate them with their trucks!
Need I say more on that?
So surely the simple question for our councillors, and for ourselves, is whether you gamble on hastening the moment when Bass Strait meets Surf Parade by building further infrastructure closer to the sea, or whether you prolong that moment as long as possible by leaving the infrastructure where it is.
I know which option I see as responding to reason.
But reason is not all that is at play here. There is also passion, as evident at Friday’s meeting – passion to see the final completion of a project which has been long desired in some quarters.
And when passion meets reason, reason usually takes a hammering.
But if that’s what happens in this case, then well-established dynamics insist that Inverloch surf beach might be next in line.
So gamble on that, if you will.
Roger Thorrowgood, Inverloch.