BY IAN CROUCH AND MADELAINE MCNEILL

It’s hoped a solution to the erosion crisis on Stockton Beach will soon be found after the state government gave the green light to Newcastle Council’s management plan for the area.

The approval by the Office of Environment and Heritage clears the way for Council to apply for state funding to address the issue.

Council Ceo Jeremy Bath says the next step will be to ensure government, council, and Stockton residents are on the same page about how to proceed.

“Unfortunately there’s still another few steps that have to be undertaken,” he explained, “before we can actually get to a long-term solution, but none of it can happen without an approved coastal management plan, which of course we now have.”

It comes after Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp debated the erosion crisis at state parliament yesterday, accusing the government of “burying its head in the sand” on the issue.

He made a Labor election promise to commit $270,000 to kickstart the Coastal Management Program, but it now looks as though much more money could be on the table.

Jeremy Bath says he’s confident the Office of Environment and Heritage will work with Council to secure the necessary funding.

“Based on the really positive relationship Council’s been able to form with the OEH over the last few months, I’m quietly confident that in the very near future the NSW Government will release funds…”
Barbara Whitcher from the Stockton Community Liaison Group has also welcomed the news.

“Now we keenly anticipate prompt action to further progress a solution to the serious erosion of Stockton Beach,” she said.

The Group has identified sand replenishment as the preferred option for managing coastal erosion.

It’s hoped such a move will restore the beach to be wide enough for people to enjoy while preventing further threats to property.

Other key management actions identified in the plan include:

* Demolition of the former North Stockton Surf Life Saving Club once the lease at the early learning centre expiries.

* Coastal protection works at the former Fullerton Street landfill site by Hunter Water.

* Design and repair of the northern end of the Mitchell Street seawall and ongoing maintenance.

* Continued placement of dredged sand from Hunter River off Stockton Beach by the Port of Newcastle.

* Continued maintenance of dune systems and beach scraping activities.



Coastal Erosion Threatens The Early Learning Centre Adjacent To Stockton Beach Picture: therherald.com.au