Pearl Beach named as erosion 'hot spot'
Pearl Beach has been named as one of 19 coastal erosion "hot spots" to be targeted by special legislation to be introduced before the end of the year.
Under a coastal erosion reform package announced on October 19, the State Government will require Gosford Council to prepare an Emergency Storm Plan for Pearl Beach.
Two other beaches in the council's area, Macmasters and Wamberal beaches, were also named as hot spots and will also need emergency plans.
The new measures will allow foreshore property owners to undertake work at their own expense to protect their properties from erosion.
The measures will include a code of practice for temporary protection for threatened properties, provide mechanisms for cost sharing and give councils and the Minister powers to stop unapproved works.
Council's acting integrated planning manager Ms Ann Stewart told Peninsula News last week that the council was already on the job.
It was spending $150,000 matched by a similar amount from the NSW Government to review of the coastal processes and reassess hazards for open coast and Broken Bay beaches.
The review will include Pearl Beach.
The review process and opportunities for public comment would be advertised over the next few weeks, Ms Stewart said.
Announcing the new measures, Premier Nathan Rees said they would clarify the rights of councils and property owners and minimise the risk to taxpayers.
"I asked the Ministers for the Environment and Planning to come up with a balance between protecting property rights and the environment.
"Our approach will ensure key Councils have plans in place and existing home owners can act to protect their properties and share the financial responsibilities - subject to stringent environmental impact assessments.
"These are complex issues with much to learn but we will work with councils and local communities to protect our precious coast," said Mr Rees.
Minister for Climate Change and the Environment Mr John Robertson said the Government had identified the need to plan for rising sea levels and action was underway.
"We already have the NSW Coastal Policy and Coastal Protection Act but it's clear that new tools and approaches are required.
"New powers will enable councils or the Minister to issue an order to stop unapproved action likely to result in significant beach erosion. This will be backed by increased penalties.
"Protecting homes and the environment by managing coastal erosion is one of our clear priorities," said Mr Robertson.
"Some Councils have been working on their coastal management plans for over a decade when action is required now.
"Delays are no longer an option when storms are becoming more destructive and the CSIRO tells us sea levels will rise by up to 40 cm by 2050."