$16m plan to protect Lake Macquarie coast from storms, erosion

A $16 million plan for the Lake Macquarie coast aims to protect it from hazards such as storms, sea level rise and erosion.

The city council wants the coast’s health to be ‘‘central to everyone’s lives’’.

It has called for comment on its draft Lake Macquarie Coastal Zone Management Plan.

The primary goal of the plan was to develop ‘‘resilient coastal landscapes and communities’’.

With sandstone and conglomerate cliffs, sea caves and long beaches, the Lake Macquarie coast is a diverse landscape.

It was considered a ‘‘high-energy coast’’, with the biggest waves emerging in east coast low storms, the plan said.

Beaches were uncrowded compared with those in cities and the coastline was mostly undeveloped, creating a ‘‘more natural recreational experience’’.

However, threats were on the horizon, with the council to ramp up efforts to protect the coast and heighten preparations for sea level rise.

Blacksmiths was a ‘‘key coastal risk area’’ with potential for ‘‘erosion, recession and lake inundation over the next century’’.

Preparation for ‘‘coastal recession’’ would be made with community adaptation plans at Blacksmiths, Redhead and Catherine Hill Bay beaches.

The council promised to work with affected communities on ‘‘changing levels of hazard and risk’’.

Council sustainability manager Alice Howe said the coastal zone was ‘‘central to the lifestyle of Lake Macquarie residents, particularly the lake and beaches’’.

“It is important that council hears from people about their priorities for managing the coastal zone and that we discuss how we can work together to maintain and improve the coastal zone,” Dr Howe said.

Dr Howe said the plan included actions, plans and hazard assessments for the coastline, lake, catchment and Swansea Channel.

Councillor Chad Griffith said most Lake Macquarie residents lived ‘‘within a stone’s throw of the lake or ocean’’.

‘‘It’s vital we maintain the health of beaches and the lake – they’re important assets to the community,’’ said Cr Griffith, chairman of the council’s estuary and coastal management committee.

The council said its commitment under the plan amounted to about $2 million over the next four years, but other money would be sought from state and federal governments.

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