Safety first for Great Lakes residents and visitors after storm lashing

MAKE sure children don't tunnel and dig at the base of steeply eroded sand banks on MidCoast beaches this long weekend - that's the message from MidCoast Council to visitors and locals alike.

“The severe storm event suffered along our coastline last weekend has severely eroded our beaches and in some cases there are eight to ten foot drops at the beach access points to the beach" said the council's Manager of Parks and Recreation (Great Lakes), Mr Andrew Staniland.

“These sand banks are extremely unstable and may collapse at any point.  It is possible for people to be buried by these sand cliffs and we remind people not to play or sit near the base of them.”

Some beach access points have been closed and people are urged not to use them - they are not safe.  When accessing the beach via an open access path, please consider whether you will be able to leave the beach safely without trying to scramble up the sand bank.

Forster Ocean Baths “Bullring” closed

If you are looking for a place to swim, you are encouraged to make use of the Little Street Baths in Forster which are undamaged and open for public use over the long weekend, after the Forster Ocean Baths Bullring has been unavoidably closed due to damage it sustained during the storm.

“Some superficial damage to the pool's concrete capping will be repaired and a large amount of sand that was deposited during the storm will be removed in the coming days” Mr Staniland said.

At this stage a reopening date for the Ocean Baths is not known.

Forster Main Beach - the shipwreck exposed

The storms also have unearthed the wreck of the Otis, a cargo ship built by Coopernook ship builder Dennis Sullivan in 1914, which has laid largely hidden after its demise at Forster Main Beach in 1923.

There is a large sign nearby warning swimmers to be aware of the wreck, which is unearthed every few years after large storm events.

Until the sand re-establishes in the area, bathers are urged to be wary of the site and avoid swimming near the area in front of the sign.

SWELL:  Tim Cusack took these photos of the Forster Ocean Baths during the storm surge on Sunday 5 June

SWELL: Tim Cusack took these photos of the Forster Ocean Baths during the storm surge on Sunday 5 June