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Tenders out to get beaches clean

Friday 26 November 2021

A long-term plan to manage woody debris on our beaches was discussed at Council’s Audit and Risk Committee this week.

Liveable Communities Director Michele Frey says Council will investigate more sustainable medium to long-term options for addressing this issue.

“This is needed because the issue has always been managed reactively in the past.

“The focus for Council is how we establish a long-term position to ensure our beaches remain a fun and safe place for our community to go, while also balancing environmental outcomes.”

In the short-term Ms Frey says tenders are out now for a contractor who can remove the latest lot of woody debris. But this may not all happen before Christmas.

The city and Uawa beaches had just had their annual clean-up in October. Two weeks later a three-day heavy rain event brought more wood back on our beaches.

“This flood event exacerbated the issue”, says Ms Frey who told the committee each clean-up previously cost between $50-60,000.

“And those costs are rising, to almost double now, mainly due to the method of disposal of the woody debris.”

Mulching the wood is better for the environment than the previous method of burning it but comes with increased costs.

Ms Frey says Council will continue to work with various stakeholders to get the clean-up process right.

“It’s not a simple straightforward solution.

“Once the wood debris hits our rivers and becomes mobile out at sea it’s incredibly hard to attribute to anyone. Council is working hard to identify the sources of this wood.”

Ms Frey says the woody debris is a combination of forestry material, willow and other materials.

“This is not just a forestry issue, it is a much more complex issue to resolve. Once the woody debris becomes established on beaches it becomes everyone’s problem.”