INVERLOCH Surf Beach is the beating heart of Inverloch and the main reason tourists go there to spend the tourism dollars our shire is so reliant on. The economic value of the beach to Inverloch has previously been estimated at $4 million per year but could be a lot higher.
To me and many others in our community, you can’t put a price tag on our coastlines and beach way of life.
Recent analysis by the South Gippsland Conservation Society’s Inverloch Coastal Resilience Project found that the coastline at Wreck Creek, west of the Surf Club, has receded by 70 metres since 2010 with about 2.8 hectares of dune vegetation having been swept away between Cape Paterson Road and the Surf Club.
This motion is not just about preserving Wreck Creek although that Creek is a vital part of the area’s local ecosystem. It is about holding the line until we have a good picture of how this erosion is going to unfold.
The community has expressed their frustration to me at the delays on finalising the Coastal Hazard Assessment and whether it can deliver on protecting that part of our coastline.
The community want some reassurance from our state and federal governments that when this assessment is completed, there will be some beach left to protect.
We are very grateful for the $1.15 million in funding from the State Government to do the assessment and for coastal protection works in front of the Inverloch Surf Life Saving Club. It is evident that the geotextile protective barrier and sacrificial sand at that site has been working.
We are also grateful for the injection of funding from the Federal Government to protect other coastlines in our shire.
Council officers and stakeholders have worked hand in hand with the Department of Environment Land Water and Planning for this assessment and will continue to do so. I commend the State Government for undertaking this strategic work.
But it seems that we are but a few storm surges away from losing this vital part of our coastline and a key buffer for residences along Surf Parade.
While this key piece of work occurs the community need reassurance that goes beyond monitoring the loss of the coastline.
I urge councillors to support this motion to enable our Mayor to request both State and Federal Ministers to protect our beach and the beating heart of our community.