Quarry sand to be used to replenish West Beach

Western suburbs residents will have better access to the beach by the end of 2021 with around 250,000 cubic metres of sand to be sourced from land-based quarries to help rebuild West Beach after decades of devastating erosion.

The move is part of the Marshall Liberal Government’s historic $48.4 million Securing the Future of our Coastline project which is protecting Adelaide’s metropolitan beaches.

Minister for Environment and Water David Speirs said this mass replenishment at West Beach is the first major step to delivering 500,000 cubic metres of sand from an external source as well as a long-term solution to saving West Beach.

“Adelaide’s coastline is one connected system, but some of our beaches such as West Beach are experiencing significant erosion,” Minister Speirs said.

“Starting in July we will deliver around 250,000 cubic metres of sand to West Beach from quarries which will bring back the beach in time for summer later this year. This is one of the most significant sand replenishment actions ever, and will provide an environmental, social and economic boost for the western suburbs.

“We will continue to explore options for the other 250,000 cubic metres to be delivered in the first half of 2022, as well as start construction of a sand pumping pipeline to secure the future of West Beach for the long-term – something the local community has been crying out for for years.

“This mass replenishment of sand will complement the autumn sand carting which occurs between Adelaide’s northern beaches and West Beach.

“The sand along Adelaide’s coast is naturally moved northward by the wind and waves. This causes sand to build up on our northern beaches, such as Semaphore, and causes sand loss and erosion along our southern and central coast such as West Beach and Henley Beach South.

“Unfortunately, the former Labor Government sat on their hands and failed to act for more than a decade causing West Beach to practically vanish.

“The Marshall Liberal Government is taking decisive action to deliver a $48.4 million long-term solution. Our coastline is the first defence against our changing climate and our leadership in this space will build resilience and improve environmental outcomes in a practical way.”

Minister Speirs said the decision to use quarry sand was made because it is readily available and does not have the potential environmental risks associated with dredging sand from offshore sources.

“There is a limited amount of sand in Adelaide’s beach system and to find a suitable external sand source for the large-scale beach replenishment, we’ve been investigating offshore sand deposits as well as land-based sources from quarries,” Minister Speirs said.

“Investigations undertaken in 2020 found that offshore sand deposits at Port Stanvac were not a viable source of sand for beach replenishment. It’s too fine, and the silt and clay content is too high. The environmental risk during dredging is also just too high.

“A successful trial was conducted at West Beach in December 2020 which demonstrated that commercial quarries are a viable source of high-quality external sand with low environmental risks.”

Member for Colton Matt Cowdrey said he is proud to be part of a government which is delivering real outcomes for people in the western suburbs.

“People in the West Beach area have watched on helplessly as they’ve seen their beach disappear from right in front of them,” Mr Cowdrey said.

“To be able to bring in such a significant amount of sand in time for summer will be a huge boost for the community who haven’t had a proper beach to use for years.

“The mass sand replenishment along with the sand pumping pipeline will fix the problem once and for all and deliver a much-needed long-term solution.”

President of the West Beach Surf Life Saving Club Peter Zuill welcomes the government’s plan to deliver new sand to the beach.

“The beach at the surf club has been eroded over time and the clubhouse, coast park and car park rely on a seawall for protection,” Mr Zuill said.

“This replenishment to our beach is positive for our club, the community and everyone who comes to West Beach to enjoy our beautiful coastline.”

The quarry sand is likely to be delivered from July this year and Minister Speirs said that the State Government will continue to work with local residents to guide delivery of the Securing the Future of our Coastline project.

“Adding a large volume of sand to West Beach will dramatically improve the quality of the beach, requiring a large number of truck movements to deliver the quarry sand,” Minister Speirs said.

“We acknowledge the trucking can cause a disruption for local residents, however by doing the hard work now during the colder months, we can ensure there’s sandy beaches ready for the whole community to enjoy come summertime.

“We will continue to work closely with the West Beach community during planning and delivery of the works to minimise disruption.”

For more information on the Securing the Future of our Coastline project visit: www.environment.sa.gov.au/topics/coasts

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