D-bah falling apart -- Erosion threatens iconic surfing beach

By ED SOUTHORN

WHERE'S Duranbah Beach?

Not all where it used to be.

Big chunks of it are somewhere along the Gold Coast, or washed out to sea.

After months of pleading by the Coastal Alliance and other beach stakeholders for the Tweed River Sand Bypass project to make sure sufficient sand is placed on the famous surfing beach to offset erosion and the impacts of sand pumping, the impact of last week's huge swell is now apparent.

The whopper seas have gouged and pushed the Duranbah Beach shoreline inland, up to five metres or more in places.

A one-to-two-metre-high wall of sand has been left running the entire length of the most northerly NSW surfing beach.

Coastal Alliance founder Phil Arnott contacted sand-bypass manager Ian Taylor and Tweed Shire Council senior officer David Oxenham yesterday morning about the severe storm erosion.

Mr Arnott said the pair had scheduled a visit to the beach to inspect the damage.

"The plan had been not to place any more sand on Duranbah until November," Mr Arnott said.

"But if we get another big (storm) system like the one we've just had, there will be some really serious problems.

"This (latest storm) shows yet again why we need a permanent (sand) outlet at Duranbah.

"And now there is a safety issue with the steep escarpment of sand.

"It could collapse on someone. At the moment that beach is really not safe."

Mr Oxenham said Duranbah Beach had suffered significant sand loss from last week's storm, but it would have been far worse without a sand replenishment program back in May.

He said a decision would be made soon about possibly bringing forward the next Duranbah sand replenishment program, planned for November.

The Daily News understands up to 3000 cubic metres of sand could be dumped at Duranbah, and the current sand escarpment removed within the next few weeks.



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