COASTAL action group Preserve Gnarabup has welcomed news that the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River will spend another $300,000 in 2020/21 on new coastal access infrastructure at Gnarabup and Prevelly to fight the effects of rising sea levels.
Councillors voted to use the last funds paid by the developer of Gnarabup Beach Estate for infrastructure at Gnarabup beach, headland, back beach and gas bay to instead move and redesign the Gnarabup-Prevelly Coastal Walkway.
The expenditure is on top of the $380,000 the Shire announced it would spend in December last year on infrastructure upgrades to reduce the danger of increasingly unstable limestone cliffs at Gracetown, Prevelly, and Gnarabup.
In 2017, the Shire made modifications to the stairs at Gracetown and Surfers Point.
Preserve Gnarabup campaign leaders urged Shire councillors to consider the ongoing erosion and mitigation expenses of rising sea levels when they vote on a proposed amendment to the Local Planning Scheme to reserve land on the Gnarabup headland and prevent further development.
“Rising sea levels are a reality we can’t ignore. The cost of moving, rebuilding and strengthen public access infrastructure is very high,” said Preserve Gnarabup’s Clare Gleeson.
“We can see that our own Shire Council is having to find whatever money it can to maintain access to beaches. It is using funds reserved for the southern Gnarabup beaches to undertake emergency work required on infrastructure on the northern Gnarabup beaches.”
“No one would have imagined when this walkway was built that it wouldn’t even last 20 years – that the shoreline was moving inland this fast.”
Shire councillors voted to adopt the Council’s 20/21 Budget on 22 July, which contained the allocation for the Gnarabup coastal erosion project, funded by $62,000 carryover from 2019-20 and a $238,474 transfer from the development reserve for Gnarabup Beach Estate.
“From the modelling done by the Shire, under the guidance of the WA Planning Commission, we know that all carparks, paths, boat ramp and the café at Gnarabup will be impacted in the next 10 to 30 years,” said Ms Gleeson.
“The lots proposed for development on the Gnarabup headland are either or on the boundary 100 year allowance which was modelled five years ago. As beach and headland and the coast moves the proposed resort proposed housing will effectively block access to the some Gnarabup beaches. be financially irresponsible to approve further ment on the headland create future liability people of WA.”