Beach nets need to be ripped up and replaced
THE controversial geofabric on the Midge Point foreshore will need to be dug up and removed after it was damaged during Cyclone Debbie.
The 800metres of geofabric laid by residents was no match for the strong winds and high seas whipped up by the cyclone in March. It was shifted out of place, leaving the dunes exposed to erosion.
Midge Point Progress Association president Navio Zeglio said there was only one way the geofabric could be removed and that was by excavators, as the sand on top was just too heavy.
Mr Zeglio believes Mackay Regional Council has an obligation to fix the erosion properly and described any replacement as one worth doing, despite being a "horrendous sort of a job".
He said residents were yet to meet with the council to discuss solutions, but is confident a meeting is "in the not too distant future".
Development Services acting director Pete Owen said council hoped funds from the State Government would be made available for Midge Point as part of the cyclone recovery.
He said such funds would enable sand replenishment on the beach at Midge Point and removal of the damaged geofabric.
"Council hopes funds will also be available to repair or replace the foreshore facilitates damaged in Cyclone Debbie," he said.
But he said council had not taken responsibility for the geofabric.
"The long-term options for stabilisation of the beach is being investigated and these will be discussed with the community at the appropriate time,'' he said.
According to Mr Zeglio, the geofabric laid in a bid to mitigate previous erosion needed to be more secure.
"The job was half done when we had the fabric down, all we needed was to put something on top of it, whether it was bags or rocks, it didn't matter, but now, it's back to square one, as the geofabric will need to be removed..."
Mr Zeglio believes damage to the foreshore at Midge Point would have been far worse had it not been for the controversial geofabric.
"The solution (to erosion) is there, it's available, there is no ifs or buts about it, we've been working on this for the past seven years to get nowhere," he said.
In October last year, years of conflict over beachfront erosion came to a head when the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection threatened a fine of up to $1.7m if the Midge Point Progress Association didn't remove the geofabric they had laid at their own expense without proper authorisation.
In a last-minute decision, State Environment Minister Dr Steven Miles took action to prevent Mackay Regional Council removing the fabric.
Dr Miles soon afterwards announced Palaszczuk Government funding of $20,000 to the council to help combat erosion on Midge Point.
Council and the State Government are carefully considering the best course of action for Midge Point and will work with the community to agree on a way forward.