An earthmoving machine gets to work on moving nearly 200,000 cubic tonnes of sand to restore Kirra to its former glory.
An earthmoving machine gets to work on moving nearly 200,000 cubic tonnes of sand to restore Kirra to its former glory. Tweed Daily News/Crystal Spencer

Restoring an iconic surf spot

THE first stage of a Kirra Beach rescue plan was put in to action yesterday, as excavators began moving thousands of cubic metres of sand in a bid to restore the beach to its former glory.

A total of 200,000 cubic metres will be moved from Kirra Beach, with today's work set to take 10,000 from near the Musgrave Street roundabout over seven working days before the machinery moves closer to the big groyne where another 10,000 cubic metres will be dug out.

The sand, which is being taken from the tidal zone, will be used to fill lagoons at the back of Kirra Beach and to help replenish sand taken from Palm Beach by the recent swell events.

The works are part of a $1.5 million funding commitment by the Queensland State Government and are expected to take up to four weeks.

Bring Back Kirra campaigners have welcomed the move, but say it is the first stage in a longer process to not only restore Kirra, but to manage the whole coastline effectively.

Andrew McKinnon of Kirra Point Incorporated said the work should complement the work of surfing god “Huey”, who had already sent a number of big swells this year.

According to surveys these swells have taken 100,000 cubic metres of sand from Kirra Beach and cut the length of visible beach by 50m since April.

“This sand will really help Palm Beach and reduce the oversupply of sand at Kirra, while also creating a sand dune system,” Mr McKinnon said.

He said it would help reshape the beach and hopefully allow Kirra Reef to show itself once again.

“It would be really nice to see sand coming off the reef.”

Mr McKinnon credited the huge public support behind the Save Kirra campaign, which culminated in an Australia Day paddle out, with pushing the government to act.

“At least stage one has begun and it is really because of community concern over the beach that we have this result.

“Hopefully we will see Kirra Point come back.

“But this isn't just about Kirra, it is about the whole coast.”

According to southern Gold Coast councillor Chris Robbins, the initial sand movement was a relatively small amount, but it should solve the problem at Palm Beach and fill the lagoon.

“This is not going to give a quick fix, but the $1.5 million will give us a result.”

Ms Robbins said a longer term options would be looked at to allow greater control over the distribution of any pumped sand.

“The issue is managing the sand to put it where we most need it,” she said.

Queensland Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Kate Jones said the excavation work began as a new survey confirms this year's king tides significantly helped the cause.

“The storms in May removed some sand from the visible beach and offshore bars at Kirra which will now be further improved by the excavation work.

“Sand levels reduced by up to three metres in the offshore areas, accompanied by a significant movement in the offshore sandbar,” she said.

“While we can't say for sure that these results will lead to an improvement in the famous Kirra break, it's a definite sign that the beach is starting to recover from the excess quantities of sand that have built up over time.”

  • A public meeting will be held on July 30 at Outrigger Resort in Coolangatta to gain feedback on the next course of action following the removal of the initial 20,000 cubic metres of sand.


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