Erosion of confidence

COASTAL erosion issues dominated the agenda for Gingin Shire council earlier this month as residents petitioned for the president to resign.

Having held a special council meeting on May 14 related to erosion at Seabird, councillors also considered emergency works at Lancelin and a WA coastal adaptation and protection policy at the ordinary council meeting on May 19.

At the first meeting, the council considered allocating $50,000 for emergency sandbagging at Seabird but decided to allocate the funds on the condition the State Government confirmed it would take action.

At the ordinary meeting, council agreed to allocate $35,000 of unbudgeted funds for emergency sand renourishment at Grace Darling Park in Lancelin and seek quotes for a sandbagging solution. In both cases, the agenda reports said erosion was a long-standing issue.

“There have been several storm events within Lancelin which have aggravated the erosion issues at Grace Darling Park,” the May 19 report said.

It proposed importing 1500 cubic metres of sand to provide some protection for the park, which is a Shire asset.

Residents from the Shire’s lower coastal area submitted an 88-signature petition voicing their “lack of confidence” in councillors and calling for Shire President Michael Aspinall’s immediate resignation.

The Shire has said coastal management was a State Government responsibility, particularly in Seabird, where the affected coastline is unallocated Crown land.

At the May 19 meeting, the council endorsed a submission to the Department of Transport on its coastal adaptation and protection policy, asking it to “clearly state” local governments could not manage coastal protection.

Lands Minister Terry Redman visited Seabird earlier this month.

“The coastal erosion threat facing some residents at Seabird is becoming dire,” he said. “It was valuable to meet with residents directly impacted by the erosion and see their properties and the erosion close up.

“Having seen the erosion first-hand, I gave a commitment to residents that I would take it up with my Cabinet colleagues and see what can be done to find an acceptable solution.”