Here on the Gold Coast we have a 52-kilometre coastline, extending from Point Danger at the New South Wales border to Jumpinpin on South Stradbroke Island.
Our beaches are always changing due to natural coastal processes and weather patterns. Erosion can impact beachfront infrastructure and properties, and where relocation of infrastructure is not possible, engineered seawalls are used as a component of the city’s defence mechanisms against coastal erosion.
The construction of seawalls forms part of our shoreline management response to coastal erosion.
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Seawalls on the Gold Coast are made of large boulders buried under the sand and are used to protect properties and infrastructure.
Seawalls must be constructed along an approved alignment called the A-Line.
This alignment was established by the Queensland Government following severe storm erosion in the 1960s and 1970s.
The location of the A-line is defined by a number of factors, including the presence of existing walls, and ensures a smooth line along the foreshore.
Seawall construction requirements
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The standard seawall design was developed by the Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning and was adopted as the minimum standard for Gold Coast seawalls in 1973.
There are 18 kilometres of public urban shoreline and nine kilometres of private, urban property that require seawall protection.
We have an ongoing seawall construction and certification program that prioritises public seawalls for construction, renewal and recertification. The seawall program is critical in meeting the City’s Ocean Beaches Strategy objective of ensuring that our infrastructure is protected from coastal hazards.
The program includes:
renewal and recertification of existing seawalls from previous decades
construction of new seawalls to join individual seawalls together and provide whole of coast protection
investigations of older seawalls (called peel backs) to check their condition (saving $18.9 million in renewal costs).
Triggers for the construction or recertification of private seawalls are contained within the City’s development processes. This includes the development or redevelopment of beachfront property, including material change of use.
Seawall construction for private properties remains the responsibility of the property owner.
In February 2019, we spent five months rebuilding the seawall at the southern end of Narrowneck to provide protection for infrastructure and properties along the beachfront. Business and property owners can now rest assured that their establishments will be more resilient to the impacts of storms and severe weather. This project also benefits the wider community by protecting our beaches from storm damage and erosion and ensuring that everyone can enjoy a beach experience.
The project involved constructing 300 metres of seawall from Higman Street to Ocean Avenue, Surfers Paradise. The seawall renewal works were completed in coordination with the Narrowneck Oceanway works which extended from Ferny Avenue to Higman Street, Surfers Paradise.
Kurrawa Park Seawall Project – Broadbeach
Construction works were recently completed on a new section of seawall between Kurrawa Surf Life Saving Club and Queensland Avenue. Dune revegetation works of the foreshore park area and dune system are currently underway. This will include planting a large number of plant species which will be consistent with the existing species of the area that are suited to such exposed coastal locations.
In June 2019, we spent five months constructing the 175-metre section of seawall to improve resilience to coastal erosion during storms and provide protection for building and property along the beachfront.
For more information about the Gold Coast's seawalls, watch our Last Line of Defence video: