THE eroding rock wall at Port Fairy’s East Beach will be torn down and rebuilt as a major Moyne Shire Council project this year.
Revealed this week in the proposed 2011-12 budget, the $340,000 project will see sections of the wall demolished and replaced with a well-designed and stable basalt rock wall to absorb the energy of beating waves, with a base set below the sea.
The initiative follows numerous reports from the Department of Sustainability and Environment in recent years suggesting council take action.
A stair walkway to the sand has been extended three times in the past few years to accommodate the sinking level of the dune to the foreshore, as pounding ocean swells and tides have created sand cliffs more than four metres high.
Moyne Shire director of sustainable development Oliver Moles said extra sand would also be pumped onto the beach to keep waves from eroding the wall.
“Most of the time the sea is up at the wall and there’s no sand there for people to enjoy the beach,” Mr Moles said.
“We need sand back on that area to provide a place people can safely swim and recreate but also to provide that extra buffer to the wall itself.
“Even with all the best science in the world, these things are trial and error.”
The eastern part of the wall will be repaired first. It is near a decommissioned rubbish tip.
But Mr Moles said his immediate concern was the main infrastructure and expensive nearby homes.
“We’re well aware of the tip issue and it is being monitored but the reality is that much of the rubbish people have seen on the beach has come in from the sea.
“The supply of sand to the beach … might help slow any erosion there.”
Mr Moles said council was hopeful the initiative would be further supported by state government funding to finish the expensive job.
“This project will repair the eastern end of wall and the sections in the worst condition but the repair of the wall would cost millions over a longer period of time.
“The cost of repair is well beyond any budget the council would have.
“Port Fairy is the number one tourist destination in Victoria, according to a survey last year, and it is imperative for government, local and state, to work together to undertake these works as soon as possible.
“I’m sure the Port Fairy community will see this as a positive step after being talked about for a number of years now.”