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The Gold Coast

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Palm Beach Shoreline Project

Click to enlargePalm 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 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 shape and orientation of the artificial reef is being designed to consider wave breaking characteristics on the reef and the surrounding shoreline. This is important for the consideration of surf and beach amenity.

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.

Beach nourishment

Survey vessel

The beach nourishment phase of the Palm Beach Shoreline Project (PBSP) will be undertaken as part of the Gold Coast Beach Nourishment Project between June and October 2017.

A survey vessel (pictured) will be working at Palm Beach and from Miami to Main Beach from April to October. This vessel will be surveying the level of the sea bed and monitoring the sand placed by the dredge as the project progresses.

Nourishment objectives

  • The City has identified the most vulnerable areas of Palm Beach through beach survey analysis since the 1960’s. A grid system has been designed using this data to identify areas requiring nourishment. The contractor will use this grid system as a map to place sand along Palm Beach.
  • Sand will be strategically placed around the wave breaking zone to increase the volume of sand at Palm Beach to buffer against future storms and coastal erosion.
  • The nourishment design will protect, and where possible enhance, beach and surf amenity. This includes the placement of sand to reproduce natural beach conditions.
  • While the sand will not be placed directly on the beach, over time the additional sand will move with the coast’s natural processes adding extra sand supply to our beaches and acting as a natural buffer during storms.
  • The nourishment will be undertaken in accordance with the City’s existing development approvals, which were previously used between 2004 and 2006 to deliver beach nourishment at south Palm Beach.
  • The nourishment is the initial phase of the holistic solution for Palm Beach to improve coastal protection. The second phase includes construction of an artificial reef in 2019.

Stakeholder engagement

A comprehensive stakeholder engagement plan continues to be delivered as part of this project.

A number of stakeholder meetings have taken place with key stakeholders including a selection of community group leaders who have represented their members. The meetings have provided an opportunity for stakeholders to ask questions and for the project team to respond to, and address any issues while informing stakeholders about the need for the project and method of delivery.

Kevin Schofield
President Pacific Surf Life Saving Club, Palm Beach

"I believe that the entire project will be good for Palm Beach including the reef. Having lived here for 35 years it will be reassuring that the beach will finally hold up in most conditions.

I think the stakeholder meeting was very beneficial - good to know what's going on in detail - and then convey to our clubs membership."


Dan Stewart
Hon. Sec Palm Beach Surf Life Saving Club, Qld

"As long as your modelling reflects the reality of Nature's forces, the plan to produce surfable banks along the threatened foreshore for sand replenishment is great. I do believe also that foreshore residents who have a rock barrier which does not extend to the depth and other specifications now required be put on notice that they will need to upgrade their barriers and conform to accessibility requirements in extreme weather events, weaknesses in the structures create problems for all.

The night was informative and casual. I intend to write a small article in our next newsletter so members are aware of the project; its purpose and the extent of proposed at sea operations."

Project update – April 2017

Schedule
An international dredging and beach nourishment tender was advertised from October to November 2016. The contract was awarded to RN Dredging Pty Ltd in March 2017.

During the month of April, our project team continues community consultation, beach survey, and the completion of pre-construction tasks including environmental monitoring and the development of an Environmental Management Plan. Surveying of the beach and offshore seabed will take place from April to May 2017. This will inform the plan to deliver sand at Palm Beach. Dredging and beach nourishment works are scheduled to commence in June 2017 and be completed in In October 2017.

Development of the artificial reef
Numerical and physical modelling continues to refine and optimise the location and shape of the artificial reef to meet both coastal protection and surfing amenity objectives. Planning is also underway to identify the most suitable construction method which will also consider costs.

Project videos





Click to enlarge

If you can't find an answer to your question or have any feedback, please email pbspenquiry@goldcoast.qld.gov.au

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