The Mirror News

Bring back the beach

PORT WELSHPOOL’s Roger Harvey said that re-establishing a recreational sandy beach between the rock wall and Long Jetty at Port Welshpool has broad community consensus and would be a fine project to coincide with the reopening of Long Jetty.

”Port Welshpool is a unique seaside town in that it has a wharf area, beach and the iconic Long Jetty. However, the existing beach is depleted of sand and previously dredged material is evident and unsightly,” he said.

“A significant drop in the sand level from the sea wall has also occurred that is both dangerous and limits the passive recreational use of the beach.”

Roger has organised a petition that states:

We the undersigned urge the State Government in coordination with the South Gippsland Shire Council to re-establish a recreational sandy beach between the rock wall and Long Jetty.

The petition has been stationed at the following locations:

Pete and Cindy’s store, The Port Welshpool Pub, the Op shop Welshpool, the Mini supermarket Welshpool and The Welshpool pub.

“While I strongly support the notion of promoting Port Welshpool, I think maritime activities should be restricted to the eastern end of the town where all the marine infrastructure is currently located.

“In short, my view is to let the Long Jetty tell its own story, and let this area evolve as a passive recreation precinct,” Roger said.

The recent meeting organised by Ros McPherson sowed the seed in his mind that instead of focussing on boat operators there are many other user groups that recreate in and around the town. He thought the best way to improve the experience of all these visitors as well as locals would be to reinstate the beach to the way it used to be.

“Our family first started coming to Port Welshpool in 2000. I remember the first vista of Long Jetty as we rounded the corner, a truly amazing sight!  We would make return visits and sit on the beach and enjoy the amazing sunny, still days that only South Gippsland seems to deliver in winter.

“Now that the saga of the rebuilding of the Long Jetty is reaching its rightful conclusion, it is time to turn attention to the beach that is in a very sorry state,” Roger continued.

“When we first started visiting there was a deep coverage of sand. We have photos where the sea wall is only half a metre higher or less than the beach.

“I know this area was originally mangroves but that is old history. Its best use now is as a sandy beach for passive recreation.”

A major problem associated with the erosion of the sand level is that it has exposed material buried by Gippsland Ports as a result of a dredging operation in the mid 2000’s.

The silty gunk originally buried is now visible again.

Roger says the beach needs a clean-up and replenishment with new sand.

He doesn’t pretend to be an expert in tidal movement of sand but what he does know is that many beaches have low timber walls called groynes that help prevent erosion and hold the sand in place. He thinks they would fit in it very nicely with the existing beach environment.

“With the reopening of Long Jetty later this year, how nice would it be to have a lovely sandy beach as a backdrop? As they say, it is a ’no brainer’ of an idea,” Roger concluded.

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