THE protection of public assets from erosions is a seemingly simple one, according to the Lake Cathie Progress Association. It involves changing the Coastal Protection Legislation to officially protect coastal public assets, like roads and services.
As Port Macquarie-Hastings Council’s Lake Cathie Coastal Management Study enters its next phase of review public submissions, the local progress association has called on the NSW Minister for the Environment Robyn Parker, to amend the current Coastal Protection Legislation.
Association secretary Jack Jones said Illaroo and Bundella Roads lie between homes and the coastline in Lake Cathie.
“While 17 homes are considered to be at imminent risk under the Lake Cathie Coastline Study a total of 32 homes on this roadway will be at risk if any section of the roadway is damaged by coastal erosion,” Mr Jones said in his letter to the minister.
“In addition to loss of access to the homes, cutting off essential services such as power and water could make all the homes uninhabitable and of little value.
“The roadway is heavily used by residents and tourists for beach access and ocean views and any damage would heavily impact the local community and cause heavy financial losses for local businesses.”
The Lake Cathie community, particularly Land Care, has raised funds and completed work restoring the littoral rainforest and Jonathon Dickson Reserve, which now provides enjoyment to locals and visitors.
“A walking track and exercise equipment are provided which are healthy lifestyle facilities with no cost to the community,” Mr Jones said.
“These could be lost if left unprotected under the legislation.”
If this Crown Land is not protected, under threat will be another 40 homes in Chepana Street.”
Independent Lyne MP Rob Oakeshott again called on the Commonwealth to work with state and local governments on coastal erosion.
In an address to parliament last Wednesday night, Mr Oakeshott said coastal erosion was much more than just an environmental story.
“It is a human story - of homeowners desperate to save their properties,” he said.
“In the past week, the coastline in my electorate has taken a battering and some beaches are almost unrecognisable.
“There is significant community angst about what will happen to private property, public infrastructure and the long-term outlook for entire neighbourhoods.
“As homeowners and businesses try to cope with the stress of a natural disaster unfolding before them, there is one question that needs answering: how on earth are local ratepayers expected to hold the line on their own?”
Mr Oakeshott said enough studies and documents had been done and it was time for all levels of government to take action.
“Despite the numerous warnings from the science community, despite the thousands of words in reports, studies and planning documents recommending action, my community, and many others, see little to no evidence of a working relationship developing between federal, state and local government of this issue.
“If the threat to property was from fire or flood, we’d have a strategy; we’d have a back-up plan, and we’d have allocated resources to deal with the issue.
“The response to this natural disaster should be no different,” Mr Oakeshott said.