Patricia Gill, Denmark Bulletin
Ocean Beach will close in February for a sea wall and surf club redevelopment which is estimated to take two years to complete. The closure will coincide with the natural closure of the Wilson Inlet sand bar and the subsequent settling of ocean currents at the beach.
Denmark Surf Life Saving Club president Sam Williams said the club was reviewing how it would complete the surf club season though Parry Beach was the most likely location for this.
But there were difficulties with this location due to the club having to haul equipment to Parry Beach.
The clubhouse, amenities building, al fresco area and boat storage opening on to the existing beach access road to the west will be upgraded at a cost of $3.6 million.
These will be on the same footprint as the existing building and public realm works will be according to the Shire of Denmark’s budgetary restraints.
Mr Williams said these works, therefore, might not be exactly as depicted in the concept drawings. He describes the amenities building as being set back into the base of the dune and offering easy access to the beach for water rescue craft.
The Denmark Shire Council endorsed the project on August 15. It includes the demolition of the old patrol and kiosk building and the building of a new seawall to replace an existing temporary wall.
Mr Williams said the closure of the beach would be a small price to pay for a long-term gain.
Work would initially start with the demolition of the patrol room and kiosk so the new sea wall could be constructed. The new sea wall has been funded through the State Government Coastal WA grant for projects in locations under threat from rising sea level.
The Shire had secured this for the 2023/2024 budget after lobbying from Warren Blackwood MLA Jane Kelsbie.
The new sea wall will be built 1m towards the clubhouse from the existing sea wall.
Steel poles will be pile driven into deep rock with wooden slats placed on the poles.
The existing sea wall was installed after a big storm and heavy inundation in 2021 to save the buildings from erosion.
The erosion forecast at Ocean Beach was accelerated after the 2021 storms.
This follows a coastal hazard risk management and adaptation plan in 2018 which pinpointed coastal hazards at both Ocean Beach and Peaceful Bay.
The upgraded surf life saving club building will have a life expectancy of another 20 years in the face of the encroaching coastal hazard line (50mm a year).
The surf club failed in a bid for major funding of a $7.96 million concept to build a new clubhouse when in 2021 the Labor Government axed the Federal Government’s Building Better Regions Fund.
On two occasions the Shire of Denmark’s BBRF application of $3.9 million on behalf of the surf club was knocked back.
O’Connor MHR Rick Wilson and Regional Development Australia suggested seeking funding for the combined projects.
In 2021 the Shire adopted the Ocean to Channel project which included infrastructure around Prawn Rock Channel plus the surf club development.
This article appeared in the Denmark Bulletin, 31 August 2023.