Concern over inundation of sand at Birubi and One Mile beaches

CONCERNED: Anna Bay veteran surfers Lindsay Brown (left) and Mick Kershler with a photo of Birubi Beach from three decades ago showing the difference in sand build-up.
CONCERNED: Anna Bay veteran surfers Lindsay Brown (left) and Mick Kershler with a photo of Birubi Beach from three decades ago showing the difference in sand build-up.

While the people of Stockton await a solution to the sand erosion problems which are crippling their once famous beach, there has been a growing concern that the opposite effect - an inundation of sand - is causing serious issues for users of Birubi Beach.

This northward drift, according to longtime Anna Bay surfer Lindsay Brown, is depositing sand at the Anna Bay end of the Stockton sand dunes and steadily "choking the waterfront".

"My casual observation over 30 years is that Birubi Beach has gained approximately three metres in depth of sand, and the beachfront has advanced up to 100m," Mr Brown, a longtime resident of Anna Bay, said.

"Rock formations are being buried and marine life habitat is being permanently changed. Sandbanks, surfing peaks, gutters and channels seem to be less predictable as the beach moves away from its rock foundation.

"I worry that the proposed additional pumping of sand onto Stockton Beach will simply accelerate the build up of sand at Birubi and beyond. My solution for Stockton Beach would be to install underlying structures - such as a groyne, breakwall or artificial reef - to retain the beach profile."

Birubi Beach.

Birubi Beach.

Mr Brown has the support of another Anna Bay surfing veteran, Mick Kershler, who also has concerns for the marine environment and beach users if the sand continues to build-up at its current rate.

"And the same thing [inundation of sand] is happening at One Mile Beach. You just have to look at the amount of sand build-up at the back of properties along James Patterson Drive," said Mr Kershler, a keen surfer boasting more than four decades of suring experience up and down the east coast.

"Birubi and One Mile are among some of the best surfing beaches on the east coast and they could suffer from this build up of sand. But just as concerning is the impact on marine life, many years ago you could dive for abalone and lobsters around the rock pools at Anna Bay but no longer."

Mr Brown said that the once great dive site at Halifax had already been impacted by excessive sand drift and that "Fly Point could well be next unless a more comprehensive strategy is adopted for Stockton and beyond".

One MIle Beach.

One MIle Beach.

Mr Brown said that there appeared to be a widespread urge by the authorities to apply the quickest and easiest band-aid solutions available.

"My concern is the apparent lack of consideration given to where the lost sand at the southern end is going and will continue to go. Filling Stockton up with sand alone, whether by dredge or pump or truck, is a temporary measure and at the mercy of the next storms."

The pair say they want more research into the effects of the northward drift on Stockton's shifting sands.

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