Moreton Bay Regional Council held a second community meeting in Beachmere in February, to provide information to residents about the Council’s Coastal Hazard Adaptation Strategy (CHAS). Meetings such as these are scheduled for coastal communities across the Region.
A Panel of Council staff, experts and residents was mooted in 2019 with residents urged to nominate as a representative of their community and their area.
This Panel never eventuated and now a rolling roadshow of Councillors and Council staff set up in local parks and encourage residents to “have their say” on the coastal environment.
According to a colourful, glossy brochure produced by Moreton Bay Regional Council, and posted to local residents, the CHAS is “a long term planning strategy to help Council, service providers, residents and the wider community understand and plan for the likely impacts of coastal change.”
It states it will help Council understand and plan for impacts of coastal change and mitigate potential risks from coastal hazards such as coastal erosion, storm tide inundation and a predicted sea level rise.
The Council believe that impacts from coastal hazards can be minimised through strategic planning by maintaining, modifying or transforming the coastline. Measures such as using physical infrastructure such as seawalls, raising levels of key access roads and introducing storm surge barriers and, even, improving the resilience of private properties are suggested. Some residents were particularly interested in the suggested “land swap” possibilities.
Beachmere residents have now attended two of these coastal community talkfests and had hoped that more information would be available on their ability to repair and defend their damaged properties and shrinking foreshore against rising tides and storm erosion.
The Council neatly side stepped this issue by saying the State Government, not the Council, is a key driver of the policies and decisions about the management of the foreshore.
However, the State Government does not allow access to the beach, making it impossible for most of the property owners to undertake necessary works.
Unfortunately, even with the input of $13m from the State Government to help fund the development of adaptation strategies for local governments impacted by coastal hazards Ali King, State Member for Pumicestone, was not at any of the coastal community meetings.
It is also the State Government, not the Council, that plans to undertake a survey of the Beachmere foreshore properties to determine new property boundaries. This is despite the fact that the Council and the State Government are aware of the Proclamation in 1975 that transferred the management and control of the Beachmere foreshore to the Council.
Council are also circulating information about their “A line Seawall” project where seawalls at Beachmere will be installed and aligned within private property as a long term solution to ongoing erosion, commencing in the “first half of 2021” with completion in 2022.
A further Community Meeting is scheduled for March where the Proclamation will be discussed. Hopefully the Councillors, Council staff and State representatives will be a little better informed and have some answers for the Beachmere residents.