TWO members of state parliament visited the Inverloch Surf Lifesaving Club on Thursday, November 21, for a tour of the erosion that is threatening the club house, and they say not enough is being done to address the issue.
The Hon. Edward O’Donohue, Member for Eastern Victoria Region and Shadow Attorney General, and member for Kew Mr Tim Smith – the Shadow Minister for Local Government and Shadow Minister for Planning and Heritage, both said they were surprised by the extent of the problem.
They say they will be taking the issue to parliament this week.
The Liberal Party pair were concerned that the $1.15 million short-term emergency works and Regional and Strategic Partnership pilot development that Bass MP Jordan Crugnale announced a month ago would not be enough to save the Inverloch Surf Lifesaving clubhouse, and the foreshore in front of Bunurong Road – the other main area of concern.
“The temporary fix of the geotextile sandbags are not to be seen, and we don’t have the luxury of time to wait for them,” said Mr O’Donohue.
Both MPs were critical of the wet-sand fencing already in place, saying they were not enough to save the surf club.
Mr O’Donohue said he was surprised by the amount of erosion that has occurred at Inverloch since his previous visit earlier in the year, although he defers the decision of what action should be taken to “the experts”.
A contract has been awarded for the emergency works to protect the surf club, but the works will not start until the end of January due to “a shortage of available materials Australia-wide”.
“Coastal and marine engineers have determined the best treatment for the surf club area given location, sand movement, sand dune system and wave energy is geo textile sand bags and this is what we are doing,” Ms Crugnale said in response to the criticism from the opposition.
“They will complement the wet-sand fencing which is there now.
“Of course, we are planning for the long term and so we are developing a Local Coastal Hazard and Community Resilience Plan which will look at the broader Inverloch area including Anderson Inlet as a whole of area.”
Mr O’Donohue hopes the federal government releases the $1.5 million to combat erosion at Inverloch and Phillip Island as soon as possible, but he says responsibility for the issue ultimately lies with the state government.
The funding was promised by federal MP Russell Broadbent in May, just before the last federal election where he was re-elected.
Inverloch local Robin Bowman has lived in the town since 1973 and believes the current plan to stop the erosion is going to be a disaster.
“I reckon they are going to need to go about 200 metres across the front of the surf club of rock wall if they really want to save it,” he said.
Robin has been a part of a group of Inverloch residents who have been lobbying Bass Coast Shire Council and the state government for stronger action to tackle the erosion.
The Liberal MPs said current erosion fighting projects like the wet-sand fencing were not going to do the job, and are advocating for a permanent structure to protect the surf club and exposed section of Bunurong road.
The wet-sand fencing works have been
funded by the Victorian Government’s Protection of Victoria’s Iconic Beaches and Coastline project, Bass Coast Shire Council, Parks Victoria and Regional Roads Victoria.