Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Great heat over great wall

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Patrick Goldsmith, Yorke Peninsula Country Times

Opposition to a proposed seawall at Coobowie is growing louder, with more than 60 people gathering at a town hall meeting on Sunday, October 1. The event was organised by the newly formed Friends of Coobowie Foreshore and attendees heard from ecologist and marine biologist John Douglas and aired their own grievances with the Yorke Peninsula Council proposal.

Council began investigating coastal protection structures and adaptation projects for Coobowie, Pine Point, Foul Bay, James Well and Port Clinton in August.

Many locals said they disapprove of a design which they believe would stretch 12 metres from the front of foreshore properties onto the beach.

FOCF member John Koker provided a background of the town’s flooding history.

“There have been three significant flood events recorded in Coobowie, in 1910, 1945 and 1964, and each of those events resulted in flooding between the beach and Beach Road,” he said.

“It should be noted sea flooding has been less damaging and less widespread than flooding from rain events at Coobowie during the same period.”

Mr Douglas advised the group to obtain legal representation. He also said the Coobowie Aquatic Reserve, which protects fish nursery habitats, would be an invaluable component of the group’s plight.

Community members mentioned a wide-range of concerns, including about the potential inability to reach someone in need of medical assistance and how they needed to be proactive in dealing with council to reach a desired outcome.

Unbeknownst to most Coobowie community members, Yorke Peninsula Council operations manager Stephen Goldsworthy had already subdmitted a different wall option which would most likely be explored at an elected member briefing on Wednesday, September 27.

He said the first community information session was attended by about 60 people, a couple of whom didn’t make the event all that comfortable for him.

“The actual wall which was presented (at Coobowie) is a wall which is designed as per the Coast Protection Board’s regulations,” he said.

“With their local knowledge, they were saying the highest waves you ever get are below your knees, but the problem is, and to the consultant’s credit, they’ve got to design it for the freak storm from the easterly direction.

“What I think the solution might be is to actually get approved a certain height to a certain year (and its expected sea level rise) and have your design so you can add to it, so you don’t need to work to the 2050 level now.”

Mr Goldsworthy said he is working through a large amount of correspondence from concerned community members and council will continue to work alongside the Coast Protection Board and the consultants to develop the best options going forward.

Yorke Peninsula Country Times 4 October 2023

This article appeared in the Yorke Peninsula Country Times, 4 October 2023.

Related story: Standing up against wall


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