Foreshore erosion could impact Conroy Park reserve and toilet block

URGENT NEED: A photo taken from the beach looking towards the Conroy Park toilet block which the community says is in need of urgent attention. Picture: Supplied
URGENT NEED: A photo taken from the beach looking towards the Conroy Park toilet block which the community says is in need of urgent attention. Picture: Supplied

An outspoken Port Stephens conservationist has warned the council of damaging flooding to Corlette's foreshore unless a solution such as sandbagging was implemented.

Margaret Wilkinson, a member of the Corlette Parks Committee, said that foreshore erosion at popular Conroy Park had the potential to impact both the reserve and toilet block.

"I am well aware of the financial challenges the council faces with making major repairs at this reserve as proposed in the management plan which were to be funded via the SRV," Ms Wilkinson said.

"However, now that the SRV has been rejected, there needs to be an urgent Plan B prepared to save this valuable reserve."

According to a council spokesperson, it was advocating for state government funding to complete the actions recommended by the Coastal Zone Management Plan.

"The council's maintenance staff undertake routine inspections after storm events and address potential public safety risks based on prioritisation and resourcing. The council is aware of allegations of tree clearing and we are looking to address this."

Ms Wilkinson said that Conroy Park was one of the most popular reserves along the Port Stephens foreshore, particularly for community groups and those with disabilities. "It is disappointing to see the absolute neglect this reserve receives."

"Unless sandbags or some other temporary solution are urgently installed to address the multiple foreshore erosion issues, the next event could likely see the reserve space impacted behind the toilet block and water entering the reserve."

Ms Wilkinson warned it would be a waste of ratepayers money for the council to move back the bank in line with the fence.

"The only formal entrance to this beach from the reserve itself (council gate) is now a huge eroded gully. This formed last year and absolutely nothing had been done to stop that eroding even further.

"It has become a dangerous entrance to a popular beach and one used by walkers as an exit from the beach. There is a huge Norfolk pine which had been part protected by sandbags which is now in a perilous position with all roots undercut."

Ms Wilkinson said that areas west of the reserve's entrance were also being impacted and reduced in size following the ["allegedly illegal"] removal of native vegetation. "I have reported that on several occasions in the past and absolutely nothing has been done to address that issue either."

"Similarly, damage to the east of the reserve needs to be addressed and I accept that there are huge costs involved in this area."

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