Castletown Quays erosion plan

Sand plan: The Esperance Shire Council have assessed plans to recycle the sand moving towards Bandy Creek to renourish Castletown Quays. Photo: Jesinta Burton.
Sand plan: The Esperance Shire Council have assessed plans to recycle the sand moving towards Bandy Creek to renourish Castletown Quays. Photo: Jesinta Burton.

A review of reports into sand erosion at Castletown Quays has presented a new cost-effective solution to the issue that has plagued the foreshore for decades.

The Esperance Shire Council allocated funds in the 2017/18 budget to undertake a full review of at least half a dozen reports into erosion at the foreshore.

It is understood the issue began shortly after the construction of the breakwater at Esperance Port, stopping the flow of sand coming into the harbour and resulting in a sand deficit.

As a result, the shire have used a Sand Renourishment Program for more than a decade to maintain an erosion buffer zone, sourcing sand from local dunes and bringing it to the site annually.

Shire chief executive officer Matthew Scott said the review, which was presented to council, addressed recycling the sand moving towards Bandy Creek.

“The natural sand drift effectively goes out near Bandy Creek and the Department of Transport do a dredging program every two years because that channel gets filled with sand,” he said.

“What we’d prefer to do is recycle the sand so that we’re not having to add new sand to the equation and are instead using sand that’s moving down.

“We’re looking at working with the department to possibly recycle the sand already in that system – it would seem to be the best option.”

According to the consultant, the department dredge around 60,000 cubic metres of sand every two years –the same amount required to renourish the foreshore.

Mr Scott said the plan was a medium term solution for relatively low cost.

“I know there are a lot of opinions but really there are two options; a soft option or a hard option,” he said.

“The hard option is things like rock walls but they are not necessarily the preferred process because you’re creating a problem downstream and it’s difficult to predict what the consequences are.

“That kind of infrastructure is very expensive - you’re talking $10-$20 million.

“We don’t know what developments could happen in the future but, from our perspective, it looks like a short to medium term solution for relatively low investment.”

Mr Scott said although the solution may take some time to officially implement, the shire were looking at a solution that would avoid having to transport sand and remove that inconvenience.

It is understood funds from the 4.45 per cent rates rise will be allocated to progress the idea.