Sunshine Coast council will make a decision on renewing the Maroochy River groyne at this Thursday’s (Dec 7) December Ordinary Meeting.
Mayor Mark Jamieson said council would be guided by results of extensive community consultation which included an online survey, feedback received through five community consultation sessions and Maroochy River Estuary Consultation Group (MRECG) advice and separate investigations into costs.
Officers have recommended that council approve the preferred groyne field replacement option of geobag to geobag and that, subject to detailed design, numerical modelling and statutory approvals, the works start in the 2019-2020 financial year. The full report is available on the council’s website.
“In January this year, council considered a report into replacing the geobags at Maroochy River, at which time I successfully moved a motion to conduct broader community consultation prior to council making a decision,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“In addition to the 10 submissions to the MRECG, council received 843 responses to its online survey. More than 350 people attended community consultation sessions, along with local councillors.”
Subsequent to the consultation sessions, councillors conducted a visit to the Maroochy River and inspected the current geobag structures and the Maroochy River Estuary Consultation Group (MRECG) has held a number of meetings and received representations from local residents and community groups.
“We have seen a wide cross section of the community come together to share their views with council, and consider the natural, social and economic values that will continue to shape the future of this iconic area,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“During this extensive consultation process, we have also had the opportunity to undertake a cost benefit analysis of a broader range of options than originally documented.
“This concentrated on the material replacement costs only and it was found that, over a 50-year timeframe, there is a relatively negligible difference between the costs of replacing the existing groynes with rock or geobags.
“Council also appreciates that the Maroochy River is a dynamic waterway, influenced by natural, constantly-changing coastal processes.
“While the final reporting date was extended from December 2017 until March 2018, given the now-known outcomes of the consultation and the cost benefit analysis, council and the MRECG felt it important to not contribute to any further community angst and resolve this matter at the earliest opportunity.
“At its meeting held today (December 4), MRECG unanimously endorsed bringing the report forward for council’s consideration at the December Ordinary Meeting and the recommendation of geobag to geobag renewal.
“On that basis, council will now consider this matter at the December Ordinary Meeting, taking a range of factors into account to determine the best method of renewing this important piece of coastal infrastructure.
“What remains undisputed is the need to renew and replace the existing groynes that are clearly showing signs of structural failure and wear and tear, to provide effective protection of existing assets for the benefit of the community.
“I thank my fellow councillors for supporting my request for extended consultation, the officers who undertook the community engagement and the residents for their feedback.
“I also acknowledge and thank the assistance of the MRECG members, ably led by independent chair Emeritus Professor John Martin.”