SCARBOROUGH resident Thomas Cameron says when he checks swell cameras before a surf, he sees that the tide is often alarmingly close to foreshore redevelopment works.
Mr Cameron, who has been surfing at Scarborough for 30 years, said he could not help but think of the million dollar houses falling into the ocean in Sydney’s Collaroy Beach this year.
“It’s not a good sign when the tide is nearly on the building site,” he said.
“What I don’t want to see is all this money spent on redevelopment, which I don’t have a problem with, in this location (so close to the ocean). I don’t want to see in the next 10 to 20 years the erosion we’ve seen up north in Seabird or Lancelin – the erosion just coming in and washing all the infrastructure away.”
The State Government and City of Stirling will invest $75.4 million in redevelopment works, not including $26 million for the City’s Scarborough Beach Pool project.
Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority chief executive Kieran Kinsella said erosion and sea level changes were both natural processes.
“Elements of the public realm that are close to the foreshore have been specifically designed for a coastal environment,” he said. “The effects of the coastal environment will also be considered throughout detailed design of the road extensions.”
Mr Cameron was a Coastcare spokesman when Lancelin experienced severe erosion at Grace Darling Tourist Park in 2015, at a big cost to councils.
“I would say the tide at Scarborough was about 30 to 40 metres away from the redevelopment area and that wasn’t even a bad day; I’ve seen the water touching the dunes,” he said.
“Sea levels are rising, so if that continues to happen we need all the dunes in the way, otherwise the houses and development will start to be put under strain. We need the dunes as a buffer zone from the rising sea levels.”
According to Coastal Risk Australia, a website that predicts potential sea level rises, the highest predicted rise is 74cm by 2100.
Water expert and environmental science Professor Jorg Imberger said the sea level will most likely rise about 50cm to one metre in the next 50 years and tropical weather would move south due to global warming.
“Worst-case scenario is when the global warming sea level rise combines with an extra-high tide and … a strong onshore wind in the middle of winter when previous weather conditions have already eroded most of the beach sand,” he said.
Prof Imberger said he would be hesitant to invest money in developments so close to the ocean.
“If we allow developments close to the ocean shoreline now, then our children will have fewer beaches to enjoy when it is their turn,” he said.