Building a Sea Wall? Central Coast

So i'm sure people know about the recent situation in the central coast, where coastlines are eroding away. Should the council be building seawalls to help these properties?

Reasons Against: Helping private property, when buying buyer beware, we don't necessarily compensate other natural disasters. Damage to natural ecosystem. Also no proof that long term it would work. This article is quite useful i found:

Whats everyone's thoughts?

What other option do they have? If no wall what would be the likely outcome?

Poll Options

  • 2
    Build the wall- council should pay
  • 40
    All them to build the wall privately
  • 69
    No should not build wall


  • +10

    Should be ocean front property owner's expense.

    When they purchased the property, the only people that got to enjoy the view from their house is the owners.

    The erosion will likely cause the ground to shift neat the houses, rendering them unsafe for occupation. The only people who are affected are the owners.

    Seeing as how no one else is going to be affected by the erosion nor the seawall, I don't see how it should be anyone elses expense.

    • +1

      Seeing as how no one else is going to be affected by the erosion nor the seawall

      One could argue that the wall would be visible from the public beach and might have a negative visual impact to the public, so don’t build one.

      • Yes, if anything that would be an argument but I also submit that a row of uninhabitable houses will be worse.

        • True but the coast line has been there far longer than these houses, and there is always buyer beware.

          • +3

            @funnysht: Not disputing that but the houses are already there. If we deny them a rock wall (whether that means we prohibit the wall or merely refuse subsidy), the houses will become uninhabitable and eventually dilapidated, a squatters den or partially washed by the sea.

            None of those things are visually appealing either.

            We can say that the buyer should have known the coast would erode but equally easily is that the council that allowed the buildings to be erected would be privy to the same knowledge, if not moreso.

            Therefore, I contend that the rock wall should not be prohibited but I maintain that the cost of any remedial works be shouldered by those with financial interests in said works.

            • @tshow: The owners will get compensated from the insurance. They can use it either fix the problem or relocate.

              • +3

                @whooah1979: Can you even get insurance to cover for beachside errosion causing your property to fall into the sea?
                Not sure any insurance companies offer that :)

              • @whooah1979: Not necessarily.

                Most insurances will not cover eroding beaches.

                • @tshow: Then they shouldn’t have built it so close to the water.


                  Who in their right mind would build on sand so close to the water? The sand comes from the sea and any sensible person would know that the sea will some day take it back.

                  • @whooah1979: Preaching to the choir.

                    I was forever home hunting a couple of years ago. So tempted to buy a direct waterfront. Opted for high ground instead after I read all the insurance clauses.

            • +1

              @tshow: I agree with you mostly.

              If any rock/sea wall or whatever is allowed to built then this should fall upon the owners should bear that cost.

              The approval process to build such a wall, should go through the same formal development application process and judged on its merits. The difficulty of building a wall is that it can change the dynamics of the currents and ultimately other owners of nearby properties may not be more (or less) at damage if a new wall is built. The building of such wall could also extend the owners land lot size if done properly, meaning they have gained a benefit from public land. There could be aesthetic merits or not. I am sure there are reasons too.

              From what I gather, the owners wanted to build something without going through this formal process but rather 1. the council needs to do something now or 2. let me build something because it needs to be done.

              If this was me, and hindsight is great, I would have put in a development application to build such protective wall with expert and technical analysis/opinion. If such DA was not approved, then pressure council to build such wall using whatever public funds are available. And if none of this bore any fruit, I would be considering legal action against the council right in a tort claim. Yes there is possible insurance who will pay for the property structure, but there is loss in land size, loss in land value, loss of enjoyment that could be in the hundreds of thousands….

              • @TheMindsetTraveller: The NSW government should have the final say seeing this abomination may be built on the water.

                Environmental impact surveys should take about two years and some times long if the eco warriors starts protesting.

                • @whooah1979: NSW government was happy to receive all the application fees, development fees and rates for these houses that they've allowed to be built.

                  It would be criminal to prohibit a wall, especially at the expense of the property owners, that would prevent further loss of property.

                  A rock wall may be environmentally damaging but I'd argue it is less damaging than a row of collapsed houses and all the garbage that is in them sliding into the water.

                  (I guess what I'm saying is that the ship has sailed on coastal conservation in those areas. We can either have a rock wall or a wall of collapsed houses and household items.)

  • +5

    Definitely buyer beware. Nature has caused the ground below my house to shift and now I have a few cracks in my walls. I’d love some form of government to pay to fill them in, but that’s not happening.

    • I'd same same with the Opal towers issues- the ground has been unsafe, and the council isn't pitching in

  • +2

    There's a lot of places they can be relocated. If the residents were smart they would have moved long ago. The erosion has been occurring for decades.

  • +6

    This is what they get for building castles on top of sand.

  • +8

    World's tiniest violin.

    • Yet presented on Australia's largest news network

  • +6

    Mexico paying for this wall?

  • The Entrance - Yes
    Wamberal/Terrigal - No

  • +1

    Yeah I don't think these property owners will be getting any sympathy from anyone.

  • +3

    I’m not paying for a wall to protect some multi millionaires property. They’re the reason locals are priced out of the housing market. Let their beachside mansions fall into the sea.

  • +3

    Oh. no, my big, expensive mansion is falling into the ocean. Won’t the poor rate payers pay to help save my mansion…

    If they can afford a property like that, in that kind of location, they can certainly afford their own beach walls. It’s not up to the 99% of the rate payers who can’t afford to live like that to pay for the 1% who can.

    I do enjoy my moments of schadenfreude while I watch this happening on the news…

    • +1

      I learnt a new word today. Thanks

  • +2

    The poor owners should apply for a reduction in rates due to the decreased land size ;)

  • +1

    Basic geology. Coasts will get eroded away. Just like soil by water and wind. Rich people thinking they are entitled to some kind of public bail out.

    Seaside houses get a lot more corrosion, hope they don't expect tax payers to pay for that too!

  • +2

    Th beach is for everyone and not private property. Do other beach goers in the area want a rock wall going up? Are there benefits other than to the house owners?

    I'd rather see some natural dunes with vegetation and no foot traffic.

    • I agree…i dont think they should get permission to build a wall at all. The beach is public interest. Tough situation though.

    • When these houses collapse due to erosion, it doesn't turn into dunes and natural vegetation.

      It ends up looking like a rubbish dump by the sea.

      It's not rock wall vs virgin beach. It is rock wall vs rubbish dump.

      • I suspect that before the houses collapse, they will be deemed uninhabitable, vacated and then torn down. If not, the sea will eventually absorb the dump through tidal movements. It would still be much easier to take a bunch of rubbish to a landfill/recycle than to build a wall that at best is a band-aid.

        Those fellas on the coast built their homes on unstable ground. High-school geography would have told anyone that it was gamble from the start.

        A wall should not be built because it's a short term fix.
        A wall should not be built with public money because it benefits few people but requires very large sums from the many.
        A wall should not be built with public money because the houses were built/purchased voluntarily with private money for private gain.

  • As a long time visitor/holiday maker and having family living at Avoca Beach, Terrigal and The Entrance for the last 50 years I know the area well.

    The houses in danger is nothing new. Been happening forever. In the early 70s a house was lost at Avoca Beach to huge swells. The water also entered the shops on Avoca Drive at least 150 meters from the beach. At the same time a whole caravan park/camping ground at Terrigal was swept away never to reopen.

    The houses at Wamberal Beach where the drama is now were only beach shacks not the million dollar homes there now.

    Do I have sympathy for the owners of the properties there now? NO.

  • +3

    Savvy buyers should buy 1 or two houses away from these houses for their great/grandchildren to have beach front property - the non-criminal Lex Luthor Principle in Superman.

    • Nice idea but the erosion may remove the roads and other infrastructure to those houses.

      • Terrigal Lake is just inland from this waterfront with the erosion. At the narrowest point between the lake and the ocean it is only about 90 metres and there are no houses there just the access road. In time the ocean will erode so far that the lake will have a new drain point.

  • Its easy to point the finger at council but its a bit like flood zones.
    There is a long history of severe beach erosion in this area so you buy/build knowing the risks.
    This risk should have been outlined in the Sect 149 Planning certificate for the affected properties when they purchased.
    But even if not, as a buyer or even a long term owner you do your due diligence and find out that beach erosion has been and still is a major risk.

    But like flood zones and those properties affected by the Brisbane River floods a few years ago, you cant ask council to make good or be responsible any damage due to natural disasters.

    I think the council should impose a levy on the affected land owners with which to build a sea wall.
    Its that simple.
    Why should other residents pay for this?

    • If a council decides to make a new footpath and it is in front of your land then you have to pay a contribution towards the cost of that footpath. It should be the same with a sea wall. Simples.

  • Have a look at the area. A thin slice of land between the ocean and an estuary, and sand at that! It’s climate change and sea level rise in action. There are dozens of spots like this all along our coast, many councils have also published maps of coastal risk and risk of storm flooding.
    The extent of council responsibility should be to clear the area and make it safe after the owners walk away as there is no insurance cover for this situation. Get used to it folks, it will be a regular occurrence over the coming years.