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Byron Shire
May 8, 2021

Sand pipeline foolish

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Janet Lavis, East Ballina

I feel compelled to reply to Warwick Anderson’s suggestion to drill a pipeline from the cliff base of the Cape below the lighthouse and run it to Wategos, for the purpose of dredging sand, to possibly ‘get the beaches back to normal, as they were when I was a kid’. It is a folly and will only waste money – money badly needed for other urgent projects.

I don’t wish to sound harsh, but ‘normal’ is forever changing, and the ocean will have her way, however much we tamper.

I used to live in Hawks Nest near Jimmy’s Beach in Port Stephens, where they’ve been dredging sand for decades now, trying to save some lovely homes at Winda Woppa. It’s been a futile exercise and a total waste of money to everyone except those few whose homes are clinging on. Many homes and fishing shacks are long gone. It’s worth mentioning a local bigwig owned a home there back then, so the sealed road was always kept in good order, although the sand is constantly covering it by wind and water.

There’s an old saying about building your home on solid rock, as opposed to shifting sands. The constant northerly drift of sand up the eastern seaboard is what has created Fraser Island, the largest sand island on the planet. Sand will always come and go, come and go. With climate change thrown in, it will only come and go in even more extreme measures.

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