Storm erosion tipped to last 'several years'
LETITIA Beach is wasting away, according to Fingal resident Arthur Williams.
Mr Williams, who has lived near the Fingal beach since 1959, said the combined effects of the Tweed River Entrance Sand Bypassing as well as last week's wild weather had damaged the beach.
Trees started tumbling from the banks to the shore last week.
“It's been going on for years now but it's even worse after the storms. It has taken so much sand away,” Mr Williams said.
“Even if they switched the jetty off, it would take years for the beach to return to normal.”
The beach has moved 90m inland because of the pumping operation, according to the Tweed River Entrance Sand Bypassing Project's website.
However, it claims the impact of the pumping is confined to a 1km radius from the pumping jetty and changes at Fingal Beach are a result of natural coastal processes.
But the effects of last week's weather are not confined to Fingal.
Three-metre sand cliffs are forming, damaging fences and exposing rocks, along the Tweed and Gold coasts.
A professor from Southern Cross University claims it will take several years for beaches to fully recover.
School of Environmental Science and Management professor Bill Boyd said yesterday it was normal for beaches to be eroded.
“Beaches represent the dynamic nature of the ocean and the complex interplay of tides, currents and waves,” Prof Boyd said.
“In big storms, beach sand is washed away and deposited offshore on the continental shelf - many kilometres out to sea. When the sea is calm that sand is gradually moved both slightly northwards by the prevailing inshore current and westwards back onto our beaches.”
Professor Boyd said the Tweed might be even more vulnerable than other beaches.
“On the north coast, beach erosion is normally an annual cycle,” he said.
“Typically, erosion happens in winter and beach building happens in summer, so we can usually expect to see the beaches rebuild after the winter.
“However, after a major storm and the kind of erosion we have seen recently, it may take several years for the beaches to recover back to their original shape.”