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One down but two still to go

TIDE IS HIGH: King tide in Ballina at the Tamar St bus interchange at 10 am, Friday, December 14.
TIDE IS HIGH: King tide in Ballina at the Tamar St bus interchange at 10 am, Friday, December 14. DOUG EATON

AFTER a rare king tide alert from the Bureau of Meteorology, tide watchers were sweating yesterday over the prospect of major erosion to North Coast beaches.

The massive high tide combined with a solid easterly swell was expected to eat into the coastline and potentially threaten parts of low-lying towns.

Sections of Byron Bay and Evans Head have both been inundated in similar events in the past.

But after a couple of ominous signs in the lead-up to yesterday's peak at around 10am, the end result was an anti-climax for some, with rock walls across the coast stemming the tidal surge.

Neither Richmond Valley nor Ballina councils reported any beach closures or flooding. Ballina engineering works manager Paul Busmanis reported only two saltwater puddles on Tamar St in Ballina's CBD.

The beach was a different story, however, with photos from perennial coast watcher Dave Heggie at Lennox Head revealing some significant erosion.

He said the event was up there with the biggest of the year.

"One of the things that probably added to it today was there was more swell coming in. There was a lot more strength in the water today than yesterday," Mr Heggie said.

"Apart from the sand on the beach being pushed around, the water was right up to the dunes."

Lennox Head's tea tree fence, the remnants of an historic attempt to thwart the sea's encroachment on the town, can be seen exposed in Mr Heggie's photos.

Over at Belongil, bigger surges were splashing over the top of the interim barrier works, with Byron Shire Council forced to abandon its planned repairs to the beachfront until next week.

"My house has floated away down Belongil Creek," local resident John Vaughan joked.

Environment watcher Green Cross Australia has created a Witness King Tides website, where tide watchers can upload photos to document their effects on the coastline.

The king tides will continue over the weekend with peaks at 10.45am today and 11.30am tomorrow. The swell should ease.


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