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The Gold Coast

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Palm Beach Shoreline Project

Click to enlarge
Palm Beach Shoreline

Looking south towards Palm Beach during June
2016 swell event.

The beautiful 3.8 kilometre sandy shore at Palm Beach is an important part of the Gold Coast’s iconic coastline. However, it is more susceptible to serious beach erosion than other Gold Coast foreshores.

As part of the Ocean Beaches Strategy 2013–2023, the City of Gold Coast (City) is developing the Palm Beach Shoreline Project – a holistic plan to provide a sustainable solution for the ongoing protection of the foreshore at Palm Beach. The project aims to:

  • reduce the vulnerability of the beach and beachfront development to storm damage
  • protect, and if practical, enhance the beach amenity for the community
  • provide a sustainable, cost effective and integrated solution
  • avoid or mitigate adverse environmental and social impacts.

This initiative will ensure the shoreline continues to be the social and economic centrepiece of Palm Beach.

Developing the project solution

The City monitors Gold Coast beaches through hydrographic survey and coastal imagery analysis. Historic survey results show that Palm Beach is the most vulnerable to erosion during large storms.

The work completed on the project to date shows that beach nourishment stabilised by an artificial reef is the best long-term solution for Palm Beach. The further development of this coastal protection solution was endorsed by Council of the City of Gold Coast (Council) in March 2014 (refer ex Minute G14.0325.004).

The delivery of coastal engineering projects of this nature are complex and challenging. To meet these challenges the City adopted an approach to incorporate multiple investigations, which include; wave studies, surveys, physical modelling, numerical modelling and beach width analysis.

Project update – July 2016

The City is currently undertaking targeted investigations that will form a Design Reference Report. This seeks to refine and enhance the beach nourishment and artificial reef solution outlined in the concept design. Recent project activity includes:

  • The City deployed offshore wave buoys during the ex-Tropical Cyclone Winston swell event in February, 2016. Data recorded during this deployment has been analysed and is now being utilised in additional investigations.
  • Four wave buoys were deployed offshore at Palm Beach in July 2016 – collecting data from southerly swell events, more typical on the Gold Coast in winter.
  • Preparation for further wave buoy deployment at Palm Beach is underway. City Officers are currently monitoring offshore conditions to determine a suitable period for further wave and current data collection.
  • Beach width analysis using coastal imaging from existing cameras located at Palm Beach.
  • Hydrographic survey of the beach and seabed before and after the northeast swell event in June, 2016.
  • Physical modelling of the artificial reef continues at the Queensland Government Hydraulics Laboratory through a collaborative working agreement with the State Government.
  • Initiation of a comprehensive numerical modelling program to predict the beach response under a range of conditions. This will include the most recent wave analysis from the ex-Tropical Cyclone Winston swell event.

The Design Reference Report includes peer review from independent technical experts. Stakeholder updates on this project will be made available through the project website.

Final implementation of the project solution will be subject to future endorsement by Council.

Click to enlarge
Computer modelling of the Palm Beach shoreline
Physical modelling of the artificial reef at the Queensland Government Hydraulics Laboratory
Preparation of wave buoy for deployment to collect wave data during TC Winston, February 2016.
Swell event June 2016. Waves impacting the upper beach

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