Australia’s only mobile wave tank has been a real crowd pleaser and key component of Sunshine Coast Council’s engagement for the Our Resilient Coast project.
Residents attending community events crowd around a giant fish tank-like container, filled with blue water to represent our ocean.
The handle is cranked and water starts to churn, a steady rhythm of oscillating waves move from one end of the tank to the other.
The crowd watches on as waves hit the far end of the tank, causing havoc and knocking a rubber duck off its stand. A few people chuckle, and then the reality of the situation sinks in. Wave action – through regular weather patterns and major storm events – can have impacts on our coastline.
But all is not lost. In fact, opportunity knocks.
The demonstration continues and various models are added to the water. The waves respond in different ways to various beach shapes and structures – such as rock walls similar to those in some of our coastal areas.
A cluster of toy trees – representing natural vegetation and mangroves – is placed in the tank, and the impact of the waves lessens.
The models show how different landforms or environments affect waves along our coastline and provide insight into ways we can lessen the effects of coastal hazards through different management or adaptation options.
Planning Portfolio Councillor Christian Dickson, a member of the project’s Community Advisory Group, said the wave tank and online survey were integral to council’s engagement with the community and to building a shared understanding about coastal processes, hazards and risks.
“Residents have a wealth of knowledge. They’ve watched our coastline change over time, and that’s why they play such an important role informing this project,” Cr Dickson said.
“Council needs more information from our residents, which is where the survey comes in.
“We’re inviting community members to go online, share their photos, their memories and what they value about our coastline.
“In particular, we want to find out what people love about our beaches, natural landscapes, coastal paths and parks, as well as their past experiences of coastal hazards, like beach erosion and seawater inundation, and how the coastline has changed over time.”
Cr Dickson said ‘Our Resilient Coast. Our Future’, was a long-term strategy to help manage the impacts of coastal hazards and increase the resilience of our region.
“Council uses the wave tank – generously borrowed from JBP – to start the conversation about impacts of storm events and a changing climate on our coastline, and how we can adapt to ensure the Sunshine Coast remains a healthy, smart, creative region.”
The wave tank will make its final appearances over the coming weeks.
The next wave tank appearance is Tuesday June 11 from 7-9pm at Mooloolaba Surf Club, The Esplanade Mooloolaba. More event details are available on council’s website www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au.
If you miss the wave tank but would still like to share your coastal values or memories with council, you can do so on the council website.