Between 2003-2006 The Walkerville Foreshore Reserve Committee of Management (WFRCoM) commissioned a Coastal Erosion Study.
This study cost over $50,000. Most of this appointed committee threw this report out despite 78 per cent of some 600 responders to a WFRCoM survey wishing to continue with the options presented.
In 2016 the WFRCoM applied for and was granted a Planning Permit by Council to massively increase and rebuild the existing seawall, upgrade the road and parking for cars and vehicles with boat trailers all under the guise of improvement.
This so-called improvement comes complete with roundabouts and speed humps which has reduced parking by about a third. The road works are on a shire road and no business of the WFRCoM. The cost of both these works is now expected to exceed $1,000,000.
The Coastal Erosion Study of 2003-06 warned about building seawalls along the foreshore as it would increase erosion by stripping the beach of sand and where the seawall ended would increase terminal scow.
The WFRCoM chose to ignore the Coastal Erosion Study which they had commissioned. Consequently, the building of this seawall has now done exactly as warned and destroyed and stripped the remaining section of beach in front of the hall.
This small section of sandy beach at North Walkerville was one of the few sandy areas that remained above normal high tides.
A beach where children could enjoy a play in the sand, was close to seating and toilets and the now non-existent barbecue. It was an area that was not subject to traffic including boats being launched or retrieved, fish remains etc. It was a nice safe place for kids.
Now it is a moonscape with the normal high tide coming up the seawall.
This committee has a long history of negative and restrictive policies. It is long past time that this appointed committee was disbanded and an elected committee installed or such as proposed in the council’s Coastal Strategy, that consults widely, uses logic and common sense and is driven by a desire to obtain the best outcome for the total community.
A Coastal Strategy driven by the desire to improve and maintain this wonderful area for the enjoyment of all the users.
Michael Giles’ comment (Sentinel-Times, July 24, 2018) highlights the very need for not only a boating strategy for our coast but in the interests of all other beachgoers. These interests are many and diverse, all need careful logical planning and implementation.
All works and beaches are ultimately funded by ratepayers and the general public. It is time for all shire ratepayers and residents to let their local councillors know that this type of autocratic attitude must not continue.
Don Atkins, Walkerville/Pakenham.