THE cost of removing rubbish spilling on to Port Fairy’s East Beach from an old tip is likely to be at least $30 million, Moyne Shire Council has revealed.
But several residents say the council should not be deterred by the huge cost because the current solution — an extension of a rock sea wall in front of the eroded dunes — will not solve the problem.
Port Fairy doctor Ian Sutherland said forecasts of rising sea levels and more intense storms made it likely the rock wall would not be able to prevent more rubbish spilling into the sea in future.
“As long as the rubbish is there ... it’s going to remain a threat,” Dr Sutherland said yesterday.
He said the high cost of removing the rubbish meant other levels of government would have to help with the task.
Another resident, Don Stewart, described the sea wall extension as “throwing good money after bad”. Mr Stewart said the wall, at 280 metres long, would be much shorter than the former municipal tip’s sea frontage.
He said removing all the rubbish was a daunting task, but the council could do it in stages.
Port Fairy Coastal Group chairman Nick Abbott admitted the council’s extension of the rock sea wall was “temporary protection”, but said it was the “only option available” at present.
Mr Abbott said removing all the rubbish would be a long-term project. He understood it could be up to four years before the council knew if it would have the necessary funds.
He said the former tip site faced one of the highest wave energy areas in the bay and was a high erosion risk.
In a statement released yesterday, the council said “it needs to manage the landfill so that no further rubbish finds its way on to the beach”.
“Ideally, all the rubbish should be removed from the old tip site. It is estimated this would cost in excess of $30 million.
“The council has and will continue to lobby both state and federal government to provide funds towards this cost.”
Moyne’s environmental and regulatory services manager Robert Gibson said the council did not have $30 million so an extension of the sea wall to reduce erosion was the best alternative at the moment.
Rubbish from a northern section of the tip has spilled on to the beach and into the sea in recent weeks after sand dunes were eroded during heavy seas.
While tonnes of rubbish have spilled out, Mr Gibson said the 155-metre-long sea wall the council built in front of the tip last year had stopped a lot more from being washed into the sea.
He said the council had planned to this year extend the sea wall of bluestone boulders by 125 metres to protect the northern section but the recent storms occurred before the extension was completed.
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