With large waves measuring six to seven metres and a high tides forecast over the next few days, Wollongong City Council is encouraging residents to be cautious at our beaches and on rock platforms this weekend.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has issued a severe weather warning for damaging surf and abnormally high tides along the NSW Coast, including for Wollongong, from today until Monday.
“The BOM are predicting a large and intense low pressure system today and tomorrow and these challenging conditions are to coincide with high tides along the coast tonight and tomorrow,” Wollongong City Lord Mayor Councillor Gordon Bradbery AM.
“We know our community loves to check out the beach and sea conditions during this type of weather events and I’m just asking that everyone take caution. For rock fishers on any of our platforms – it’s a no-go. Please, put your safety first.”
Council has been working closely with the NSW Department Planning, Industry and Environment to better understand the potential impact on our city’s beaches ahead of the challenging conditions.
“With weather events like this one we know not all our beaches are at risk of coastal erosion because there are a number of factors that come into play like the direction of the forecast wave heights and the timing of the high tides,” Cr Bradbery said.
“The latest predictions are that the waves will be directed from a southerly direction along the coast initially and then moving into a more south-easterly direction through Sunday and Monday.
“As a precaution we’ve used this information and have undertaken steps to shield some spots on our coastline. In addition, we will have staff out and about across today, the weekend and into next week monitoring the conditions and our coastal zone.
“The coast is a dynamic environment and we are seeing some high sand levels on our beaches at the moment. It’s likely these conditions will see some scarping – or where the waves cut into the sand – and some movement of sand.”
Crews have already put in place measures to protect the currently exposed sites along North Beach in front of the North Wollongong Surf Club where works have started on the new seawall and clubhouse refurbishment. This includes the use of two tiers of large bulker bags filled with sand on top of the uncovered areas.
We have also worked closely with stakeholders from Heritage NSW, the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, and the Illawarra Local Aboriginal Land Council on short-term actions we can implement to protect areas of significance this weekend.
A number of one tonne bulker bags will be placed around scarping at Bellambi Point to reduce additional erosion from the large swells. The current expert advice provided to Council is that the threat to Sandon Point Aboriginal Place’s dune system is predicted to be minimal with sandbagging not required at this time. Council, as well as key stakeholders, will closely monitor conditions at this location across the next few days.
“As our community would expect, Council has been working closely with key stakeholders over the past few days to ensure we’ve got the right measures in place for the right locations,” Cr Bradbery said.
“I know there has been community interest in erosion events at Sandon Point in recent times and we are putting in place plans to respond quickly should the current advice around this site’s risk change.”
Council’s cautious approach also include the placement of sandbags around the northern base of Wharton’s Creek Bridge at Bulli. We are currently monitoring the bridge’s base, which has seen some movement of sand, and the sandbags will help to protect it against further damage.