Should Grace Darling Park be moved?

The Shire of Gingin says it will replace sand eroded from the beach at Grace Darling Park but is not sure when it will do so. Picture: Anita McInnes

A LANCELIN coastcare group wants to start discussing a planned retreat from Grace Darling Park and for the park’s infrastructure and lawn to be relocated.

The Friends of Lancelin Coast said the planned retreat could be achieved by moving Grace Darling Park into the northwest corner of the Southend Caravan Park fronting Hopkins St, which is already grassed.

John Hatch from The Friends of Lancelin Coast said Grace Darling Park should then be returned to natural dune to create a soft beach to absorb wave energy in an attempt win back the area’s natural shoreline and beach.

Mr Hatch said the group also wanted the Shire of Gingin to start a program, which would educate the public about the positives and negatives of installing infrastructure on the beaches and costs involved in maintaining it.

Shire of Gingin chief executive officer Jeremy Edwards said the Shire had been advised by Department of Transport coastal engineers that sand renourishment was still the preferred option to deal with the erosion happening at the park.

Earlier this year $20,000 worth of sand the shire had carted in to replenish the beach was washed away.

Mr Edwards said in the 2015-16 financial year, the shire allocated $75,000 for sand renourishment work at Grace Darling Park – $35,500 was a grant from the Department of Transport with the shire matching the remaining $35,500.

“Due to favourable weather conditions throughout most of the 2015-16 financial year, only $20,000 of the $75,000 was spent on sand renourishment,’’ he said.

Mr Hatch said the shire had not consulted with the community about plans to address erosion of the beach and the park.

He said the shire had recently engaged a coastal engineer report on the use of geotextile bags, which are filled with beach sand, for in front the park.

When asked about the report he said the group had been it had detailed a solution costing between $750,000 to $1 million and that the shire would continue to monitor the location and carry out sand renourishment, which it had been advised by the Department of Transport as the most favourable solution in the short to medium term

Mr Hatch said the sand renourishment carried out in mid-April had all washed away within five weeks.

Mr Edwards said the sand would be replaced again but he was unsure when that would be done.

He said a draft coastal hazards risk and management adaptation plan had been produced and was now being peer reviewed by the Department of Planning, which had contributed $35,000 towards the plan.

“The Shire of Gingin is awaiting their comments before making it available for community consultation,’’ he said.

The coastal hazard risk management and adaptation plan will include potential options such as sand replacement, seawalls, groynes and offshore breakwaters and a planned retreat from the foreshore.

Mr Hatch said it was important to educate the public about the consequences of using rock walls and hard surfaces as they could create a similar but bigger problem than what was already happening at the park.