Wollongong City Council’s past management of the region’s beach dunes has been raised among a raft of concerns with its draft dune management strategy.
More than 60 submissions were lodged about the plan, which aims to identify options to address safety and amenity issues from overgrown vegetation along 17 patrolled Illawarra beaches.
Several submissions took issue with the council’s history of managing the dunes, claiming it had failed to follow state guidelines and had planted the wrong species along the coastline, causing major overgrowth.
A report to go before councillors next week said the vegetation was originally planted in the 1980s to address community concerns about beach erosion, following storms, and to minimise sand blowing on to roads and homes behind the dunes.
A new three-year implementation plan, to accompany the dune strategy, would include a beach-specific vegetation scheme, providing an appropriate list of species and sites for planting, the report said.
Many submissions claimed vegetation encroachment had caused more frequent and severe scarping, or erosion, along the coastline.
However, the report said the council considered scarping was a ‘‘natural process’’ and removing vegetation would not prevent it.
A range of submissions also related to specific management options put forward to solve sightline problems at several beaches.
Some people supported plans to invest in relocatable towers, citing their high vantage point and limited impact on vegetation, while others slammed tower use, claiming they were short-term, costly and did not address the overgrown vegetation.
There were mixed opinions of an option to re-profile the dunes, with some submissions raising concerns about impacts on biodiversity.
The council said any re-profiling would be accompanied by replanting of appropriate vegetation.
Two submissions suggested the region’s Aboriginal heritage had not been adequately considered but the council report noted it had engaged its Aboriginal reference group for input.
The report recommended changes to the plan, prompted by the submissions, be endorsed, along with the implementation plan, at Monday’s meeting.
The final strategy will go before a future council meeting.