Call for groynes to stop erosion at Loch Sport

THE Loch Sport community needs help from the state government to deal with ongoing erosion on the Lake Victoria foreshore.

Gippsland South MLA Danny O’Brien has met with the Loch Sport Foreshore Committee to view first-hand the rapidly accelerating erosion of the foreshore around the Seagull Drive area and further along to the northeast toward National Park Rd.

Mr O’Brien said erosion of the foreshore had long been an issue for Loch Sport, but it had accelerated in recent months with strong winds washing away the shoreline and threatening the coastal walking path and private backyards.

“I recently wrote to the Minister for Environment seeking assistance for the Loch Sport Foreshore Committee and the Loch Sport community to install additional groynes to arrest the erosion and movement of sand along the foreshore,” he said.

“This is an issue that has been ongoing for some time and in the last few years there has been almost no support from the state government for dealing with it.

“Indeed, I first wrote to the government in 2015 seeking assistance and funding for a plan to address the erosion and little has happened since.”

Mr O’Brien said the area around the Seagull Drive boat ramp was being rapidly washed away, and in some parts the walking track along the foreshore was being undermined.

“Loch Sport has an enviable position as one of the few places in southern Australia with north-facing water views, but that advantage is being literally eroded away by wind and wave action.

“We need groynes installed to protect the foreshore and reduce the movement of sand along the coast.

“This has worked well in other parts of the town and the government needs to act with the community and the foreshore committee to address this ongoing issue.”

In May the Gippsland Times reported resident of 20 years Judy Oldfield had raised concerns over walking tracks along Seagull Drive which had been extensively damaged, as water had washed away the foreshore and parts of the track.

She called for immediate action to repair the track before someone is injured.

“People use this track all the time,” she said.

“It’s a great walk – always loved it – but this is dangerous.”

Ms Oldfield said she had sent a letter to council and also spoken with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, as well as the local foreshore committee.

A Loch Sport Foreshore Committee spokesperson said it had echoed Ms Oldfied’s concerns with higher authorities.

“The damage is becoming increasingly severe at each incidence of a high wind day,” the spokesperson said.

“The damage to the track and hence the safety of people who enjoy walking along the track is becoming extremely problematic.

“I have approached personnel in DELWP in Bairnsdale, Traralgon and the city offices.”

A DELWP spokesperson said at the time it was working through the issue with relevant stakeholders.

“DELWP is working with the Loch Sport Foreshore Committee of Management and Wellington Shire Council to identify the most effective options to address erosion issues along the foreshore at Seagull Drive and long-term planning for the area,” they said.

The spokesperson also pointed to the government’s allocated $11 million for maintenance and erosion management projects to protect the state’s coastline.

New grants totalling $500,000 will be available to coastal land managers to address access and coastal protection issues.