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Paradise in peril: Noosa warned coastal erosion risk has become 'intolerable'


Noosa Shire Council is wrestling with a plan to tackle the threat posed by coastal erosion to some of Australia’s most valuable real estate.

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The council’s latest report on how to protect the community from coastal hazards shows the risk is particularly acute for Main Beach at Noosa Heads, which already suffers regular bouts of erosion.

Other vulnerable parts of the shire include Sunshine Beach and Peregian Beach, with the council contemplating the introduction of development controls for some areas.

The council has called a special meeting for Friday to debate the latest version of its Coastal Hazard Adaptation Plan and navigate through some trenchant community opposition to what it proposes.

Studies associated with the plan have revealed that without an appropriate response to the projected rise in sea level from climate change, coastal erosion will increasingly endanger areas such as the stretch from Peregian Beach to Sunshine Beach, Noosa Heads, and Noosa North Shore.

This would have “an impact on some privately-owned assets and Council infrastructure (e.g. roads and recreational areas), as well as the beaches themselves”, a report to council states

“The assessment of coastal erosion risks in Noosa Heads show the level of risk to all built assets along the Noosa Main Beach beachfront is already considered intolerable,” the report says.

It warns that current regime of planning controls “does not fully account for the increased erosion risk anticipated over the coming decades as a result of sea level rise and projected increases in extreme weather”.

“Changes to the Noosa Plan 2020 are therefore needed to better plan for coastal erosion risks, consistent with the State Planning Policy for coastal hazards,” it says.

The plan has also costed and ruled out as not feasible the option of building seawalls to protect vulnerable areas. Such a move would cost billions of dollars and result in big losses in tourism spending.

While Noosa Heads and other areas of the shire will be at increased risk of storm tide inundation in coming years, the most pressing danger is erosion.

Council offices are worried the rockwall at Noosa Heads built in the 1960s is not certain to withstand wave attack in future years.



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