- Last updated:
- 31 Aug 2021
0:04 Cr. Mark Jamieson
The Sunshine Coast has great beaches. They’re a central part of our Queensland lifestyle. We go to the beach for long walks, to swim in the water, and to meet up with friends and family who enjoy the sun, sand and surf lifestyle.
The foundation of the Sunshine Coast economy is our natural advantage, and that means our beaches, our forests and our mountains are intrinsically linked to the region’s growth and prosperity.
0:30 Voice over
The Sunshine Coast’s dandy beaches are in dynamic places, where we constantly feel the impact of winds waves and tides. On occasions, storms like ex-cyclone Oswald can mean large amounts of sand is eroded from our beaches and that can damage community infrastructure such as roads, pathways, fencing and coastal parks.
The challenge for council is to manage the impact of erosion on community infrastructure, while allowing the natural processes of the beach to take place.
1:06 Stephen Tracey, Waterways Project Officer, Sunshine Coast Council
Here on the Sunshine Coast, beach erosion is a natural phenomenal, and there are periods of strong waves such as generated by cyclones or east coast lows, beaches tend to erode, sometimes quiet severely, sometimes down to coffee rock, and sometimes the dunes will be eroded to a sharp scarf, vertical scarf.
The sand that gets washed off the beach isn’t lost in the system; it gets washed off into the new shore zone where it forms sandbars. The thing is sandbars actually help protect the beach from further erosion by causing the waves to break out in deeper water and dissipate their energy.
The data we have shows that over the last 40 years there has been no net erosion. While there’s been major events that have washed the sand from the beach, the sand has come back over time.
Ideally beachfront land should be used for passive recreation use like parks and bushland. Erosion only really becomes a problem if there’s buildings and roads that been to be protected.
2:10 Denis Shaw, Coastal Engineer, Sunshine Coast Council
Whilst nature generally takes care of the beaches there are times when council has to step in and employee engineering solutions to help maintain the beaches. Some of the solutions include sand scraping and beach renourishment which you can see here, and also the construction of geotextile groynes at the Maroochy River mouth.
The difference between sand scraping and beach renourishment is that with sand scraping we mechanically move the sand from the low tide mark up to the high tide mark, whereas beach renourishment is generally the deployment of a dredge into the river mouth where there’s a sand source and that’s displaced back onto the beach creating a lovely wide beach. As a result of the beach renourishment we now have a beach that’s eighty metres wide, which all can enjoy.
Council keeps a watchful eye on the condition of our beaches and dunes, and it’s possible that in the future we may need to look at implementing management measures to protect community infrastructure that’s impacted by erosion.
We’re fortunate on the Sunshine Coast to have wide buffer zones that act as a protective barrier. Where possible, we would prefer to let nature take its course and our priority is that our beaches remain beautiful, safe and fun places for everyone to enjoy.