More residents angered at effects of dredging on Waiki beach

More residents angered at effects of dredging on Waiki beach
More residents angered at effects of dredging on Waiki beach
More residents angered at effects of dredging on Waiki beach
More residents angered at effects of dredging on Waiki beach

A GROWING number of residents are angered with the effects dredging is having on Waikiki beach.

In 2016, Rockingham Council approved dredging for the Bent Street navigational channel.

Safety Bay resident Richard Lindsay was shocked and dismayed a council would knowingly damage a pristine beach.

“It’s the dumping of the spoil on to Waikiki Beach that is the problem. I don’t have a problem with the dredging itself,” he said.

“But it’s silting up the white sand, turning it a dark grey; it’s unsightly.”

Resident Mark McCarthy said seeing the beach had really alarmed him.

“It’s obvious the decision they have taken to dump the dredging waste is wrong, but it’s too late to reverse the decision,” he said

“Wasting hundreds of thousands of ratepayers’ money to dredge the channel, only for Mother Nature to fill it in again, is another issue.

“But vandalising a pristine white beach in the process is unacceptable.

“I’m sure any rational person would agree.”

Both men likened the situation to environmental vandalism. Both had contacted the council about the issue.

However, the council’s response just flared tensions.

“They send a Q&A document that only served to confirm council doesn’t understand the damage they are doing to our beaches and don’t care either,” Mr Lindsay said.

“One part told us that the sand will be bleached by the sun. The dog beach further down is still the same colour three years after the first round of dredging was done.

“They said it was a ‘satisfactory result’.”

Mr Lindsay said it was affecting water quality.

Another resident contacted the Courier, saying the dredging was dragging the whole lot around the bay.

“The dog beach has not gone back to the white sand it used to be after the first lot of dredging three years ago,” he said.

Another resident was concerned for the safety of swimmers.

“Being the school holidays I take my kids there for a swim,” he said.

“After seeing the colour of the water and watching it move around the bay to where we were, I wasn’t happy to let them keep swimming.

“It was a horrible, blackish, brown reddish colour – hard to describe but it didn’t look right.

“When we got out I noticed the beach had virtually emptied – including the kids doing swimming lessons.”

Mayor Barry Sammels said there had been complaints.

“The City has been contacted by 14 residents who are concerned about the smell of the sand and its grey appearance,” he said.

“We have worked closely with these people to keep them informed about the project.”

He said there was not an alternative to dumping the slurry elsewhere.

Mr Sammels said council was aware of the effects it would have before it started.

“It is grey, contains organic material that will break down,” he said.

“It is anticipated that it will bleach from sunlight exposure, wave action and the ongoing tidal cycle.”

He said it was being done differently this time to extend the beach; giving it a larger buffer zone during winter.

“If the sand is removed off site, then the beach will eventually erode back to the dune vegetation.

“The sand is safe and poses no threat to beachgoers.” he said.