The current high tides are once again causing significant erosion of the dunes at Clarkes Beach in Byron Bay. This has seen mature trees fall onto the beach as the dunes are eaten away.
‘The high tides are presently coming to the bottom of the dunes and they are still very vulnerable to erosion,’ said the Byron Shire Council in a press release.
In response the BSC and Reflections Holiday Parks have closed a number of beach access paths and they are asking people to stay away from the dunes in that area.
‘There is a very steep drop from the top of the dunes to the beach and we have repaired or closed some access paths to make sure that no one gets hurt,’ Chloe Dowsett, Coastal and Biodiversity Coordinator, said.
‘We have also lost more of our concrete access path that was installed for people with mobility devices like wheelchairs.
‘Mature trees and other coastal vegetation have fallen into the ocean and stormwater pipes are exposed,’ Ms Dowsett said.
‘Reflections is also working on the area of Clarkes Beach near the holiday park, to ensure access paths that are not safe are closed, as well as removing rubbish and debris.’
‘Reflections is doing a number of things to address erosion issues in front of the park and we are a stakeholder in the Coastal Management Plan that Byron Shire Council is developing,’ said a spokesperson for Reflections Holiday Park.
The current policy is one of retreat and leaving the beach to move in its natural cycles. However, Reflections told Echonetdaily that they are ‘working on a long term engineering solution that will be best for the beach, environment, and holiday park’.
‘The current advice is to retreat, which Reflections did last year when it repositioned cabins at its Clarkes Beach Holiday Park further into the park away from the erosion. Reflections also stabilised camp sites that have slabs by placing them on screw piles which go down into the ground underneath the slab.
‘These erosion events and challenges are similar to those happening up and down the east coast. Erosion at Stockton and Wamberal are examples.’
Sand will return
Ms Dowsett has said that they expect the sand to return in time.
‘The sand will come back with aerial shots showing a slug of sand coming around Wategos and the Pass and this will eventually replenish Clarkes Beach.
‘The southerly swell transport system has finally fired up after a few years of negligible south swell and hopefully if this continues sand will continue to build up.
‘However, it will not rebuild the steep dune escarpment and this will need to be addressed by other coastal management strategies in consultation with NSW Government agencies and other stakeholders,’ she said.
Beach users are reminded that in the meantime there is a lot of exposed rock and pebbles on Clarkes Beach which is difficult for people to negotiate on the high tide.