Mayoral candidates share views on foreshore's future

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THE Hervey Bay foreshore is a key asset to the Fraser Coast – now the region’s mayoral candidates are making their views clear on what they believe its future should be.

Last year, the Fraser Coast councillors endorsed an $8 million rock wall and sand-bagging plan to protect the vulnerable foreshore from erosion.

Sticking with his controversial “enhancement” policy, incumbent Mayor Gerard O’Connell promised more of the same if he was re-elected.

Cr O’Connell said when dealing with the issue of erosion, he would “rely on good science and engineering solutions”.

“My plan is a combination of protection and enhancement,” he said.

The Mayor refuted claims the council had destroyed vegetation on the foreshore.

Fellow mayoral candidate Steve Coleman told the Chronicle he was in favour of “grooming trees rather than eradicating them”.

When asked about dealing with the erosion problem, Mr Coleman said he would rely on “professional advice”.

“Nature is nature and it’s very hard to fight against it,” he said.

Mayoral candidate Greg Schmidt said he would push to keep the balance of vegetation and sea views to protect Hervey Bay from the dwindling sand mass.

“A tree’s root structure is crucial to holding the sand together and for the stability of the beachfront corridor,” he said.

Acknowledging the foreshore was the best asset Hervey Bay had, Chris Loft said future works should be halted.

“Let’s just push the pause button and smell the roses on it,” he said.

Cr Loft said solving the erosion issue would require dredging sand from the Dayman Spit and pushing it onto the beaches.

Jannean Dean said she would like to see five lines of defence on the foreshore.

That includes ground-covering plants, cottonwood trees, shrubs and gum trees.

“We are the only northerly facing beach in Australia and protecting our infrastructure on the foreshore is paramount,” she said.

Ms Dean said the council should consider geo-textile sand bags and more vegetation as well as investigate dredging to form a new Shoreline Erosion Management Plan.

Holding a science degree, candidate Lee Carter said burying rock walls under sand dredged from Dayman Point was a favourable option.

“The only time you’d see the wall is with a serious tidal event,” he said.

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Fraser Coast Chronicle Article 18th February 2016