Stockton battens down the hatches ahead of cyclonic swell

Newcastle declared a natural disaster area

Newcastle has been declared a natural disaster area due to damage caused by last weekend's extreme weather.

It was one of 56 local government areas around the state, including Cessnock, Maitland, Port Stephens and the Central Coast, that were declared on Wednesday afternoon.

The declaration will allow affected councils to apply for assistance through a State-Commonwealth funding arrangement to repair public infrastructure.

"This was a disaster event that caused significant damage to roads, electricity, infrastructure, motor vehicles, businesses and residential properties," Minister for Emergency Management David Littleproud said.

It comes after Newcastle lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes wrote to the NSW Emergency Services Minister David Elliott asking that Stockton Beach be declared a natural disaster zone.

Preparations have ramped up to project Stockton's foreshore from a cyclone-induced swell that is expected to hit on the weekend.

City of Newcastle staff spent Wednesday placing four and one tonne sandbags around exposed areas near the Pines and in front of the caravan park.

Work also continued on the operation to remove three holiday cabins at risk of collapsing into the sea.

The last of the cabins, which have been partially disassembled to allow them to be lifted onto a truck, are expected to be removed on Thursday.

On the move: Another section of a holiday cabin is lifted away from the heavily eroded foreshore at Stockton Caravan Park on Wednesday. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

On the move: Another section of a holiday cabin is lifted away from the heavily eroded foreshore at Stockton Caravan Park on Wednesday. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

The Bureau of Meteorology has warned residents on the east coast of NSW to brace for the effects of Tropical Cyclone Uesi over the weekend.

"We're not expecting to see a direct impact [of the cyclone] on the NSW coast, but we will see some damaging winds and heavy rainfall," Bureau of Meteorology manager of weather services Mike Funnel said.

"Like any tropical cyclone, there could be heavy rain and damaging winds and we will be issuing warnings accordingly ... it's likely by the time it comes down to the NSW coast it will be an ex-tropical cyclone, however the impacts can still be significant."

All accessways along Stockton Beach have been closed until further notice. Sightseers are also advised to keep away from the top and bottom of sand cliffs as they may be unstable.

Adding to the public safety risk is the exposure of significant amounts of historic debris.

The Newcastle Herald reported in October 2019 that tonnes of toxic waste from the BHP steelworks were used to stabilise the area around Stockton's War Memorial.

The material, including slag and rubble, was sourced from the BHP following severe erosion in the late 1940s.

It is likely the material contains hazardous substances which could pose a threat to human health and the environment.

It follows the exposure of toxic waste from the former Stockton tip during heavy swells in January 2018.

More than 8000 tonnes of waste from the site, that operated as a council landfill between 1964 and 1971 near Corroba Oval was transferred to the Summerhill Waste Disposal Centre after the material was found to contain friable asbestos.

A 100-metre sand container sea wall was built to protect the site from further erosion.

This story Newcastle declared a natural disaster area first appeared on Newcastle Herald.