Magnetic Island North Queensland
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A young koala's beach adventure

February 25th 2013
Horseshoe foreshore under threat - but what can we do?

Recent storm waves at Horseshoe Bay Over the last 22 years sea levels around Magnetic Island have risen by about 6.38cm. And, at Horseshoe Bay, where a very popular foreshore park is being chewed away by successive storms, and where council recently decided not to replace storm damaged public toilets in the same, prone, position, the reality of sea level rise is beginning to shape real infrastructure decisions. Some locals are calling for walled protection. But is this a viable solution?

After posting the story: Council thinks twice after storm erosion (Click here) Magnetic Times received some interesting responses on our facebook page. As there have been calls in the past for rock walls and, now, timber walls to protect foreshores we have repeated the facebook comments between reader, Maria Julia and Magnetic Times over the issue. This is followed by a response from Magnetic Island Councillor and Deputy Mayor, Vern Veitch.

Maria Julia: We should be lobbying council to put a timber wall structure the likes that Picnic Bay has otherwise we are not going to have a Horseshoe Bay foreshore, where will all the tourists sit,what will happen to the business

And the markets. Every time we get a severe northerly the foreshore is eaten away, they bring in more earthmoving equipment put some sand back and they think they've cured the problem. The toilet block is prime example at least Vern isn't flogging a dead horse. Council be responsible with our ratepayers money and construct a wall that will last for the next 100 years.

Magnetic Times: Hi Maria, I think you would get a very interesting answer from Vern re the wall idea. He has a serious science background and has spoken at length in the past about how walls eventually exacerbate these sorts of problems.

Maria Julia: Vern has alot of strong opinions about things, especially if the council have to pay, than you see his science degree and statistics . However if we could get someone other than the council to pay for the headworks of the structure I'm sure it would be a different answer. Walls would not exacerbate this erosion problem, we are not trying to divert water flow from one spot to another as is seen in Nelly Bay, we require to alleviate the erosion that's evident and the potential storm surge damage that is occuring more and more with every strong northerly . Vern needs to see what is really happening time and again before saying that walls exacerbate problems. How long has the wall barrier been up at Picnic, that foreshore looks pretty damn good. We are all to complacent about Horseshoe Bay . We need to take action. I don't even own property along the Pacific Drive foreshore but if I did, I'd be very worried !!!

Following is an abridged response from Cr Veitch after we relayed the discussion to him for comment.

"As far as building a rock wall is concerned, there are 3 issues.

"One is certainly the cost which is in the order of $20K to 30k per linear metre of length on the mainland where resources such as trucks and quarries are readily available and dependent on how deep and high the wall needs to be.

"At a minimum, about 270 metres of wall would be needed if we only did the section from the boat ramp to the eastern end of the park and a guess at the estimated cost would be in the order of about $8m for a wall of that length and some landscaping on the mainland. Importing sand to put in front of the wall would be an additional cost.

"The second is where to get the rock from. Short of turning a headland into a quarry, and repeating the Nelly Bay situation, I suspect it would have to be carted from the mainland adding (perhaps doubling) to the costs above.

"The third issue however is that rock walls bounce waves whereas a sloped sand beach shapes itself to the waves it has been exposed to and encourages them to break and lose their energy. This is why there is rarely and beach that is usable directly in front of a rock wall as the reflected wave carries the sand further offshore. This science is well established and can be confirmed in almost any reference written on the subject. If you google “rock seawall” images you will note that very few have any usable beach.

"The other important factor in rock wall is where they start and finish. At Horseshoe, whilst it would require a detailed study by coastal engineers, there is no hard structure at the eastern end such as rocks to tie the wall to so it does not create erosion at the end of the wall.

"Before we can do any work of a structural nature, we would need a Shoreline Erosion Management Plan (SEMP) and for an area of that size, the minimum cost of a consultant to develop the plan is likely to be in excess of $100K and this would then need state and perhaps federal approval to implement. Note that we did not get approval for a rock wall at Rowes Bay and now have something more temporary that has so far cost about $6m for a shorter length than would be required at Horseshoe.

"As you can see, easy to say, difficult to do and perhaps unlikely to get approval anyway from higher levels of governments as it is considered to be a natural process.

"Just as an aside, one engineer outside council suggested we blow up a nearby headland and build an outer rock wall and turn the bay into a giant marina. Not something I could support."

Note: Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority website notes: "Records of sea levels at Cape Ferguson near Townsville show an average increase of 2.9mm every year between 1991 and 2006." Our figure of 6.38cm was extrapolated from this data. (Ed.)

Story and photo: George Hirst

Horseshoe foreshore under threat - but what can we do?
February 24th 2013
Interesting and timely article thanks MagTimes. A few weeks ago I circumnavigated the Island and had a chance to see each of the bays and beaches from the sea. The apparent erosion at Horseshoe Bay is sometimes emulated at Balding and Radical, with similar aspects, but not at Alma Bay (or not to the same extent). And yet Florence Bay has changed quite a bit over the past twenty years, not only in shape and slope but in foreshore vegetation. And while the harbour end of Nelly Bay is undergoing rapid change and other (southern) end seems quite stable even though it is occasionally overwhelmed by high seas.
Clearly there are different forces at work in every location but all are being slowly nibbled at by insidious sea level rise. If rock walls were ever started, at any bay, almost inevitably the erosion would move to the end not protected and would continue until the whole waterfront was closed off. Maybe it would make sense to consider moving infrastructure (streets, houses, shops etc) back from the coast where appropriate to allow the natural processes of beach and foreshore fluctuation the space to function properly. Necessary compensation and reconstruction would probably cost ratepayers less in the long run if the figures quoted by the Deputy Mayor are anything to go by. And anyway, do we really want to start another ugly quarry on Magnetic Island? Just maintaining the Presto Breakwater requires additional rock work every five years or so. Imagine the quantities necessary to protect every esplanade on the Island. It doesn't make sense.
February 24th 2013
Do the maths and it's always smarter to respect the island as we learned from the Nelly bay idiocy. The obvious cost effective solution is to move structures away from the coast and count it as a stupidity loss. The only worthwhile money spent from council would be an IQ test on developers.
mal hamilton
February 24th 2013
previous generations thought it insane to build near the sea. time to rethink our coastal lifestyle and make a better plan for the future.
February 24th 2013
The sea level has not risen in the last 20 years at Arcadia.I know the hight of the king tides back then and they have not been near them since.The damage was only from wind driven waves from a localised windstorm.My tide marks are very stable and can not be moved
George Hirst
February 24th 2013
Appreciate your contribution BBH and thought I would dig up a little more about the SEAFRAME system I referred to as used by GBRMPA to measure sea level rise.

Following is some info about that system which might help aid understanding of this very important issue.

I cannot post the url into a comment but google "Australian Baseline Sea Level Monitoring Project" if you are interested.

Monitoring stations (closest is Cape Ferguson)
"The monitoring stations use the SEAFRAME (Sea-level Fine Resolution Acoustic Measuring Equipment) system, which has also been installed around Australia. The equipment has built-in sensors that measure:
water level
wind speed and direction, and maximum wind gust
air and water temperatures
atmospheric pressure
vertical changes in land level.

"The SEAFRAME monitoring stations use an Aquatrak sensor, which operates acoustically. A pulse of sound is fired down a tube to the surface of the water, and is reflected back. Measuring the time taken for the sound to travel from the sensor and back allows the sea level to be determined. The speed of sound varies with temperature, humidity and air pressure and the Aquatrak sensor automatically compensates for these variations, which are also measured by the SEAFRAME station.

"The equipment has the capacity to measure sea-level changes to within one millimetre accuracy, every six minutes, which is important for recognising small changes. Other measurements are recorded once every hour. The sea level and climate data are regularly recorded and transmitted to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology National Tidal Centre (NTC) in Adelaide.

Sea-level trends
Measurements of sea level vary considerably over time due to variations in tides, storm events such as cyclones, ocean events such as El Nino and catastrophic events such as volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. These variations are referred to as ‘noise’. This noise makes it difficult to determine any long-term change in the sea level, so other information such as tidal analysis and barometric pressure is used to remove the noise and gain a more accurate picture of sea-level change.

As the sea-level record becomes longer, the relative sea-level trend estimates become more stable and reliable.
February 25th 2013
If I was BBH I would be inviting scientists from BOM and other such agencies to Arcadia to experience this miraculous geophysical anomaly. The people who publish the tidal predictions for the port of Townsville assume an annual increase in sea level of 1.5mm. If it is true that Arcadia (is that Alma Bay or Geoffrey Bay?) is a uniquely inexplicable exception, our tourism and/or religious reliquary industries might be able to capitalise on it. Is there a weeping virgin amongst the boulders there?
February 25th 2013
What year did they use as the base year as there is a big veriation from year to year .Did they pick a low one or one at random.This new way of mesuring needs to run for 100 years to give a true average reading.After all we are only half-way out of the last ice age.The scientists can only release data that fits gov. thinking as it is gov funded
February 26th 2013
What a letdown! It's not a miracle after all but a conspiracy to keep the government funds flowing. Make BBH the prime minister! Or better still, leader of the opposition.
How is it BBH that your method of measurement (paraphrased - "I know the height of the king tides 20 years ago and no modern king tides have been that high") and your fixed baseline heights ("My tide marks are very stable and can not be moved") are so totally reliable and yet you insist that the scientifically verifiable and repeatable measurements of the agencies need to "run for a hundred years to give a true average reading"? You don't seem to have any readings, at all.
It's one thing to say you don't believe the science, it's another thing entirely to say that the science is wrong - and not have any evidence other than a belief, a feeling or a bit of a guess. Is your "tide mark" in Alma Bay or Geoffrey Bay?
February 27th 2013
Having been the first student of Climate Change Adaption in Queensland, I can tell you we assessed everything and the only way out is to move away from the shores and build higher. Walls create more erosion and the seas will only get bigger and winds stronger with increases in climate temperatures, creating warmer seas. REALITY CHECK! Get out of the clouds and stop wasting money rebuilding the sand piles...prevention is always better than don't last.
February 28th 2013
Sorry but I meant a timber frame barrier like Picnic Bay, I did not mention rocks, let alone a quarry. Where was the hue and outcry when Picnic Bay had a barrier erected to stop future erosion and to maintain the picnic area along the Mall. What Vern is proposing or should I say obstructing with his arguments is so ludicrous it's laughable. Vern thinks by quoting astronomical, insurmountable $$ figures that we'll go away and shut up. My God if I owned the Marlin Bar or owned property at Sails or any of the shops along that beachfront I would be up in arms. I cannot believe some of you are quoting climate change as a reason to NOT do any thing and saying instead “I told you so”.

Are we all going to let Horseshoe Bay Foreshore slip into the sea when a very simple solution is at hand.
Read this article property owners along the beach, not just Horseshoe Bay but anywhere. This doesn't affect me financially, my property isn't slipping into the sea however my Horseshoe Bay foreshore is and that's worth fighting for
(To see the article Maria is referring to google "Byron Bay owners win right to protect beach property" Ed.)
George Hirst
February 28th 2013
My apologies Maria, Vern did mention the timber walls at Picnic in a separate comment and I simply forgot to add it to the material above. It read:

Picnic is very low risk compared to Horseshoe but I note the exposure of surf club foundations. I doubt wood would survive one strong event at Horseshoe and could even add to damage further back as it broke up and became missiles pushed by the waves. We would not use wood to stop waves today.
March 1st 2013

I know I am going to cause a storm but this has to be said. I loath council bashing but we elect these members in and regardless of who is reponsible, something has to be done, or it's all over red rover for Horseshoe Bay.

Firstly, owners acquired the properties in good faith, reasonably expecting that the land they purchased would continue to be available for their use as business' or homes or investments - just like anyone else. Secondly, they are not personally responsible for climate change and storm events. Finally, it is not just about their benefit, the beach that is enjoyed by the general public would cease to be accessible if allowed to encroach into private property, this will than impact all of Magnetic Island and our vital tourist industry.

It is rightly an issue for the public purse. At some stage in the far past Council zoned the land suitable for development - people relied on that to develop homes and business' on it. Clearly, buildings exist there today because of Council's approval. Logically this is not a case of "Buyer beware" effect. If someone else suddenly decides that your right to rely on Council zonings is void, where does that leave anyone - waterfront or otherwise ?
March 1st 2013
Maria, I think you'll find that cadastral property boundaries are established by the State government (Titles office). If there is to be any change to boundaries it is possible under state legislation but rising sea levels are a new phenomenon that may require a new legislative regime.
I think the situation in Radical Bay provides an excellent example. The freehold land there extends to an 'Esplanade' (Council street) which begins at Highest Astronomical Tide (HAT). The owner proposes to either build an existing approved multi-storey resort or further subdivide to house blocks - in either case building as close to the high water mark as is legally possible. You would think that neither State nor owner (developer) would want to gamble with climate change (given the odds and the evidence before their very eyes) but in fact by staying with the status quo Queensland is giving a government guarantee that any encroachment by the Coral Sea onto the site will be sorted out using taxpayers money. So even when nothing has been built and plans are still being drawn and negotiated we have this disconnect between what we know needs to be done (or at least considered) and what will in fact be done. This not only applies to existing waterfront streets like Pacific Drive in Horseshoe Bay but to every tinpot esplanade up and down the coast - whether or not it has any development.
We know that in a hundred years something will have changed along with the estimated one metre of sea level rise. It's a pity that taxpayers will watch huge amounts of government money spent on holding back the tides when a multitude of alternatives awaits appropriate legislative changes. Will that happen shortly? Will government actually discuss climate change and the various approaches to dealing with it? Or will we continue to bullshit ourselves that 'she'll be right', that tomorrow is another day and anyway let's put a new coal loading facility at Townsville port so that we can watch while the stockpiled carbon gets pumped across the sea and eventually under it, pushing the ocean higher and higher while we gaze in dumbfounded amazement.
John Gill
March 1st 2013
Rock or timber walls cause more erosion and beach loss - often requiring sand pumping etc to remake a beach . Much worse than current problems ! It's science - just look at the Gold Coast and Noosa ! The beaches there are gone right now .
March 2nd 2013
@ John Gill, the timber wall at Picnic Bay even after Yasi has sustained the foreshore, yet the pier was destroyed ,so to me that suggested enough of a pounding by waves to have destroyed a structure. Horseshoe Bay cannot be compared to the Gold Coast, we don't get any of the constant surf or pounding that they get, we get occasional northerlies that pound and erode the sand dunes, as I said ,we cannot be compared to the Gold Coast. What is your solution ? or shall we just give up on Horseshoe Bay foreshore. Maybe you just don't care enough for Horseshoe Bay to be bothered.

@ Chasmac, what an excellent reply, thankyou for explaining all that, you are a wealth of information.

Please let me reiterate this one last time , I have nothing to lose by erosion that is occurring on the Horseshoe Bay foreshore but alot of people that own property and interests on the foreshore have. I don't know why I am stressing to fight this issue if the people that have everything to lose can't even be fazed to do anything about the situation. It's not rocket science to know that the far end near Sails, Pacific Drive, is going to erode and by the look of the last Oswald pounding, it took quite a few metres already, won't be long before there's no road left.

Get off your back sides and find a solution, don't just throw up your arms like John Gill did and give up because you can't be bothered with a solution, surely this is enough of a cause to fight for.

Reading between the lines I suspect our dear Editor knows this is an issue for Magnetic Island, something has to be done and lets all be constructive in our solutions and not negative.

Over to you all now, what is the solution ???
Carol Mills
March 2nd 2013
I would be opposed to the building of a rock wall. This was done by a number of residents at Flying Fish Point about 10 years ago in order to protect homes. The rock wall moved and created a number of spaces that were small enough for 2 young boys to crawl through. After they did, the rocks moved again. One of the boys survived, the other was crushed and died.
It was a terrible tragedy.
March 3rd 2013
@Carol Mills we are trying to save Horseshoe Bay NOT kill children, solutions please, not hindrances.

Don,t anyone bother to reply unless you have a solution to save Horseshoe Bay, I can't be bothered to reply to the lame negativity and the defeatist attitude that some readers are replying with.
March 3rd 2013
Maria, I had a chance to more thoroughly look at the shore in Picnic Bay on Sunday afternoon. I noted the 1m+ high log retaining wall that is built above high water along the strip between the jetty and the stage construction which juts out from this retaining wall. If you climb down onto the actual beach next to the stage structure you will see that in fact rocks have been used to create the foundations for that stage and there is erosion developing around those rocks and the trees next to them.
On the opposite side of the jetty, along the edge of the access road to the boat ramp, you can see that a large mass of rocks has been placed there to protect the road foundation and the banks of the creek/estuary which opens out there. Some serious erosion of the bank BEHIND the rock, ie. between the rock revetment and the access roadway (with casuarinas growing all through it) has occurred in some recent times, possibly associated with the flooding of that creek or with some high tide/ high seas event. In both locations, casuarina trees growing along the shoreline are now being undermined in much the same way but to a lesser extent than in Horseshoe Bay and/or Nelly Bay. Also, just in front of the Picnic Bay lifesaving building you can see how the join between the lawned public space and the actual sand of the beach is slowly retreating landward.
The point I am making is that Picnic Bay is in fact subjected to the same sea level rise issues (with variations) as every other beach on the Island. However the retaining wall in Picnic is well above HAT on a foredune which appears to be slightly higher and of a different shape (cross section) to that found in Horseshoe Bay. Where rock has been used in Picnic Bay there are definitely issues arising - you just need to acknowledge what is actually there before starting to make comparisons with other places. You might find that there is some rocket science in it after all.
Steve Lane
March 3rd 2013
Geeze, I've read some Green drivel in my time, but Chasmac you deserve 9 Eco stars for this effort!

I just love the; "but all are being slowly nibbled at by insidious sea level rise."
Contains all the calamitous gravitas of a ‘Catastrophic’ bush fire warning doesn’t it?

Just when we thought it was safe to go back into the water. No, that’s far too dangerous to the coral and fish, here’s some interpretative signage for you to really enjoy and a bucket of actual, yes actual, ocean water to touch (obviously we can’t let you touch the real thing, as the acids in your skin would adjust the ph and all the fish would die and the sky will collapse in and cause etc, etc)…

Thing that bothers me is why are you guys so het up about people building on the foreshores, who take their own risks. If you’ve built safely (with your eco grant) 500 metres up the hill already!

Your own eco interpretative sign at the end of Horseshoe Bay showed clearly 100 metres of up and down sea level change in the past 16,000 years or so. Prior to that the GBR was grazing land for the mega fauna of the day, so why worry about this 6.567433cm of eco certified change in the past 20 years. The reef moves with the seas.

So Chasmac, understand this one thing. Using crass insults, superior tones and bullshit stats impresses no one, with one

So even if your alarmist rubbish came true and the rains stopped (Flannery got that one wrong eh???, not before it got him an Australian of the Year Gong, I s’pose eh!) and cyclones became more frequent and sea levels rose one or five metres etc, people will just rebuild further up the beach, as they have done for thousands of years.

Yeah, Chasmac I know, the IPCC has enough eco data on land loss to sea and salt etc, to ensure that innumerable grants are made available to ensure that more grants are available to write yet more doomsday scenarios, and ensure that thousands of useless unneeded eagle swatters, oops sorry, I mean Wind Powered Eco Turbines are subsidised into existence, on every hill.

But you see Chasmac, one day in the eco future, there will be no more oil, and no more coal will be allowed to be burnt…People will have to walk to enviro conferences to quaff the finest wines then.

Makes one wonder where all the grants funding is going to come from then, doesn’t it? Wow a world without grants and interpretative signage, where will we be then???

It’s the year 2456… A father talks gravely to his son, explaining the extinction of Interpretative Signage makers and how they died out as their craft became…
March 3rd 2013
Steve, I never said I was "..... het up about people building on the foreshores, who take their own risks." In the Radical Bay example (above) I clearly stated that if the Queensland government and local council allow the developer or future owners to construct dwellings on the sand within about ten metres of the Esplanade - in exactly the same way as they have allowed development over the past century in Horseshoe Bay, then the government is obliged to guarantee the protection of the freehold property boundary at taxpayer's expense. Don't you get it? The property owner doesn't take the risk because the government indemnifies the property owner against any and all encroachments. If Pacific Drive gets washed away then it will be rebuilt to exactly the same boundaries no matter what and hang the expense. I don't think it's a good idea to deny the obvious and to propose to continue doing waterfront planning this way indefinitely. Like at Cardwell after Yasi, some thing, some time, will have to give.
Another example, just to make it clear old mate. Inside the Nelly Bay harbour, in the canal where the house blocks have pontoons out the front, if those revetment walls are damaged by storm surge, high tides, 'floods', subsidence or any other 'natural' event, it is not the home owner's problem because the 'owner' and guarantor of the rock revetment walls is Townsville Council. If there is damage to the walls Townsville ratepayers will fix it because that is the guarantee that government gives to people with waterfront properties. If those canal revetment walls need raising in time because the 1980s calculations of sea level rise were unrealistic (as has already happened, twice, on the Presto Breakwater), ratepayers will foot the bill. And man, is that expensive or what? I'm not saying there should not be waterfront property but I am suggesting that if government can see that in the foreseeable future many dune-backed and other low gradient shorelines will need to naturally migrate to absorb expected sea level rise (which I hope even you acknowledge is a fact not a conspiracy) then why not take the opportunity, in places that have not yet been developed or built on, to plan on creating that buffer zone by changing property boundaries now and dealing with compensation issues etc? And if the State is proposing to create new man-made land like canals (say, at the Duck Pond outside the Casino in Town where 700 dwellings have been proposed) wouldn't it be a tiny bit strategic to expect a metre of sea level rise, to expect increasing frequency and intensity of cyclones, to know for a fact that a storm surge of 1, 3, 5 metres is quite possible and to maybe decide it's not such a good idea to put government guaranteed man-made land like that out on a platter for the ocean to just swallow in one gulp, residences and residents alike?
Carol Mills
March 3rd 2013
Maria, my comments were made from first hand experience while living in a community where the very same discussions you are having now took place. Unfortunately some owners of beach front properties decided not to listen to the experts and built walls without going though council approval.

The rock walls destroyed the beach and a young child was killed.

Many properties at Fllying Fish point were built within the natural tidal area so it was not climate change that was threatening the homes but rather poor planning that allowed building within a place that was not suitable.

Many lessons could be learned from studying what has happened at Flying Fish Point and other coastal areas.

This is not being negative, I am voicing my opinion and giving the reasons for it.

Steve Lane
March 4th 2013
Thanks Chasmac for a considered and nicely toned reply. My umbrage with all these issues is why do we have to plan for the unplanable.
Sea levels are going to change over time. Coastlines will erode no matter what the sea level. Look at the U.K. coastline, it’s been eroding and receding for thousands of years, just by the actions of the seas and storms that happened long before we blamed ourselves for altering the environment. Deal with these issues as they happen. If sea levels rise, then deal with it when it happens. It is a slow process, scary pronouncements from people like Flannery aside.
Even if anthropological activity directly caused sea level increase (and I certainly don’t believe there is any credible evidence) then steps will be taken by governments as and when required to deal with same.
Scaring the bejesus out of young people as Prof. Steffen did today, stating the environment is ‘on steroids’ is not science, is it? The use of climate extremes as evidence is in no way scientific, is it? but no I don’t see any conspiracy, just a big waste of natural resources fixing problems that don’t yet exist and that probably will never happen.
At the end of the day if a revetment wall fails, well look at fixing it and decide who pays for it at that time…
March 4th 2013
@ Carol I' m sorry I should never have said that you were negative , I never mean' t to imply that, must have been shocking what happened at Flying Fish Point, my inlaws had property along there and sold up in the 90's
@ chasmac that wall at Picnic Bay has lasted longer than the foreshore at Horseshoe is going to last at the present rate of erosion.
Obviously a solution isn't, at hand for the foreshore , well none that the council wants to invest in anyway
March 4th 2013
Steve, you will notice that this article is about the apparent effect of sea level rise in Horseshoe Bay. Residents there and many others including the local authority, have seen with their own eyes that waves breaking at high tide just off the beach can sweep water right over the berm onto Pacific Drive bringing sand and water to the shopfronts. I think it is being suggested that this is a new phenomenon - or at least, it seems to be happening with greater frequency and at higher levels than ever before in local memory.
You take the position that: "If sea levels rise, then deal with it when it happens", which is fair enough. But who decides that sea levels have risen? Do you agree that the evidence on the ground in Horseshoe Bay, the evidence of Council workers having to clear sand nearly a metre deep from around the BBQ area, the receding shoreline at Gerry Kearns Park, the collapsed boatramp, the falling trees etc. etc. now constitutes something that needs to be 'dealt with'? Can we expect that "...steps will be taken by governments as and when required to deal with same"? Because many people believe that we have already reached the point where action needs to begin. It's easy to imagine that in Horseshoe Bay the next storm event will see waterfront buildings being actually damaged or even undermined as seawater swirls past and into the estuary behind or actual waves break across Pacific Drive. The Council has already decided to not locate the public toilets back on the beach (where they were originally built overlooking a shark proof swimming enclosure just after WW2). If more changes are needed then local and state government will need a plan - mainly because ad hoc decisions made over and over again for more or less the same reasons become incredibly expensive - far more than ratepayers will ever be able to afford. Some places have pressing needs, other can wait. Others still will have unexpected political pulling power or the opposite - expendable public assets like scenery or a fishing spot that are abandoned because no one cared enough. These challenges are not "unplanable" - they are just extremely difficult to push to the top of the priority list, especially when outspoken commentators, with all sorts of personal agendas, are able to deflect, obfuscate and mess up the playing field so that ordinary decision making is nearly impossible to conduct. I suggest that Kevin Rudd was on the money when he stated that climate change is the greatest moral challenge facing society. We don't have space or time in that debate any more for personal agendas.
March 4th 2013
Maria, to the best of my knowledge, waves breaking at high tide in Picnic Bay have never swept up over the undisturbed berm (for example at the Granite Street 'headland' or the paved approach to the jetty) or threatened the buildings on the Esplanade there - before or after the construction of the raised retaining wall. I don't pretend to know why but the different aspect (one faces north the other south), different reef shape, different wave regime and numerous other factors have created different places. But hey, maybe you are correct and a treated pine log retaining wall the length of the commercial strip in Horseshoe Bay would create new recreation and business space that is sustainable and functional. I simply do not know.
Steve Lane Cairns
March 6th 2013
Chasmac. I think the expression is; agree to disagree.

Yep okay, I plead guilty to making up a word - unplanable - but I like it alot LOL...

Any reliance on your part to retort with words of wisdom from Kevin Rudd surely diminishes your arguement into laughing stock territory though?

He, her and that party are just about to be annihalated in the coming election and you submit his words of wisdom. Surely you could do better than that. They have put us in the hole for near $200 billion and still you sing his praise - Go figure!

One of main planks of your position is cost, tied with the fiscal impact of climate change, again, - $200b - Go figure?

But I caveat my comments referring to my membership of the LNP...

You know, it seems to me that history in a couple of hundred years from now will judge these current generations pretty harshly. I think it will be viewed as a time of wastrels and lost opportunities for manusia and the squandering of many and great resources by the smallest of men.

The best thing about it, will be that none of us will be around to bear the shame...

Keep planning the unplanable...
John Gill
March 9th 2013
Maria , rudeness is not constructive . I live in Horseshoe . The breakwater has caused repeated severe erosion on Nelly Beach .A timber wall,constructed illegally, in front of 1 of the foreshore houses on the Eastern end of Horseshoe also causes erosion . There maybe another solution but not walls.
Pacific Drive , Horseshoe Bay is built on a sand dune . Up until the 1950s , Henry Lawson was the main street .
March 9th 2013
So Steve, you enter the 'debate', shake a few branches and chuck a few grenades and then you leave. You are cool about government 'dealing with stuff when it happens' or 'fixing stuff that needs fixing and working out who should pay when the time comes' but you won't come to the nub of this discussion. That is, when will you personally be well enough equipped with information to accept that the time for action has in fact arrived?
You seem to want to wait for more evidence of global warming, of sea level rise, (probably) of ocean acidification, even possibly of increasing atmospheric CO2, even though these parameters are being measured accurately every day and accepted as scientifically verified facts. Perhaps you still hope that someone will find a way to contest that factual scientific evidence (rather than the social/political/economic scheming that is now occurring in response to those facts) so that they are found to be completely wrong, that the world doesn't have to do anything at all, that climate change is 'crap' and we/they were all barking up the wrong tree. Sheesh!
I think that could be a lonely wait Steve. And so confronting given that your high school education taught you about the greenhouse effect (so you know that's true), the Cairns Post reports on the measured global sea level rise (so you know that's the absolute truth!) and all the senior members of your personal political party agree that climate change is real and they intend to take Direct Action to counter it if only they can win government. Coming to grips with that challenge will provide you with some moral dilemmas. Perhaps not the greatest moral challenge of your life but still, it will be up there. Because you don't want to believe it. You don't want it to be true. But every day another plank falls into place on the stairway to heaven. We're all going up Steve and I'm sorry but we are all going to be around to see it, in technicolour, right before our very eyes. In fact I suspect it's already happening in downtown Horseshoe Bay. Oh, and don't worry about the money or the shame. No one does these days.
March 17th 2013
Why not lobby to triple the Carbon Tax? That changes the climate. Right?
March 18th 2013
As you probably already know HJ Di, the carbon tax will disappear next year when it turns into an ETS. Then the price will fluctuate according to the market. The evidence so far is that over the past couple of years electricity demand is down across Australia and as more people make the intellectual connection between electricity/fuel consumption and the cost of living so demand will sink further. I think this is the objective of a carbon price (either by direct tax or by ETS). If it comes to pass that consumption of electricity continues to fall even as renewable electricity production increases (competing with and slowly replacing coal-fired production) then we will have achieved a turnaround in Australia's greenhouse gas production and a start on the long haul towards carbon free electricity and fuel generation. This is what will eventually change the climate.
In my opinion it will also change the nation. Even in the last couple of years we have all become much more aware of our ability to waste energy resources - mostly because they are so cheap as to not worry us financially. Witness the number of homes with air conditioners running all day, even with no one present, the number of large gas-guzzlers clogging seriously expensive roads, the incredible growth of landfill, all point to a high consumption society. But the impact of the carbon tax, even though small in comparison to the other drivers of price rises ("gold plating" of electricity transmission systems for instance), has brought rapid change in consumption behaviour, far and away ahead of alternatives like government regulation. People really do respond to price signals and the carbon tax and soon the ETS will continue that trend. We won't see global warming reversed in our lifetimes but one step at a time we will be able to reverse the growth of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and that will be a major achievement.
April 11th 2013
Increase the carbon tax.
tony paps
April 14th 2013
Amazing isn't it that every discussion about the environment ends up in a group of conservatives bashing everyone over the head with politics and useless jingoism.
We have been looking at Mag Is as a retirement option for several years. We will not be purchasing anything in West Point, Radical Bay or on any of the "Esplanades"! Horseshoe bay beachfront and anything surrounding the Lagoon is also out.
I am glad some of you locals are concerned about what is a obviously a problem. I suspect one or more of your hecklers may be in Real Estate.
Fay Maree Seechius
April 25th 2013
As a regular visitor from Canberra, I would hate to see the foreshore disappear. But from what I know you have nothing to worry about now that we have a Carbon Tax and eventually an ETS.
Maria Z
April 28th 2013
Whether we like it or not sand dunes come and go and should never have permanent structures erected on them. What is more of a worry is putting shops and houses in such a vulnerable area in the first place. Usually where there are vegetated dunes these have a chance to replenish next time there is a quiet period which is going to be seldom under climate change.
Unfortunately Horseshoe has this fantastic view that everyone wants to build close to at their peril. Ditto Nelly B where an engineering problem has required an engineering solution. Smart people buy their real estate with flood maps and storm tide surge maps. Others write to Magnetic Times time after time defending their opinions.

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