HISTORIAN Bill Stafford with old photos showing the way southern Gold Coast beaches used to be prior to walls and sand dredging
HISTORIAN Bill Stafford with old photos showing the way southern Gold Coast beaches used to be prior to walls and sand dredging

Walls are killing Kirra


A TWEED historian has called for the training walls at the Tweed River mouth and groynes at Kirra to be torn down as a way of restoring southern Gold Coast beaches to their former glory.

Bill Stafford, 82, of Banora Point, said the beaches and the world-famous surf break at Kirra Point would return to their former glory if the walls and groynes were pulled down.

Mr Stafford was one of a several people, including professional surfers and academics, who addressed a forum at Coolangatta Bowls Club this week to look at solutions to bring back the iconic tube-pumping surf break at Kirra Point.

Born and bred in the Rainbow Bay-Coolangatta area, Mr Stafford said the solution was "very simple".

"I've been a resident here for 82 years and watched the beaches come and go and come and go - both before and after the groynes. We had better beaches before the groynes and more sand than there is now, but people think that the (Tweed River) sand bypass system has made the beaches as wide as they are now." he said.

"I would like to see the demolition of all existing training walls at the Tweed River mouth and the Kirra Point and Miles Street groynes, which would bring everything back as nature had it in the first place.

"Take the Kirra groyne and Tweed River walls out and you'd have magnificent beaches.

"Sure, from time to time they'd be eroded under cyclonic conditions, but they quickly make up as all these photographs I have show," he said.

The forum heard from Neil Lazarow, project manager of a study by Griffith University's centre for coastal management who attributed Kirra's lack of decent waves to the sand bypass project by the Queensland and NSW governments.

The study is trying to find solutions to the problem while still protecting the coastline, with options including waiting for a cyclone or major storm to naturally push surplus sand north, channelling sand to specific locations or reducing the width of Kirra Beach.

Mr Stafford said he preferred removal of walls and groynes.

"In my time, up to the 1970s you could expect cyclones or effects of a passing cyclone once every five years - you could almost set your watch to them," he said.

"But I think the world's weather patterns have changed because of global warming, which has brought about a change in the cyclone cycle - so we haven't had a fair dinkum cyclone since the 1970s."



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