Excavation fails to allay beach safety fears

Excavation works to realign Bulli's Whartons Creek have done little to improve beach safety, according to Bulli Surf Life Saving Club president Keith Caldwell.

Steep sand hills and rampant vegetation have plagued the Bulli beachfront for months, cutting off the main access to the beach and posing a significant safety risk to the public.

The problem occurred when Whartons Creek started flowing along the western side of the beach following heavy rainfall in November.

The change of flow eroded the sand dunes and undermined the safety of the walkways.

Last week Wollongong City Council partially completed some excavation work to realign Whartons Creek and rebuild the main walkway, but it has done little to alleviate the fears of surf lifesavers.

"For us, as lifesavers, it's a bit of a band-aid solution at the present stage," Mr Caldwell said.

"The escarpment is still there - there's a big drop -- and it's a dangerous situation with any movement of sand.

"It basically means that we have to look towards the water and also look behind us in case there are kids playing in the sand dunes."

While the work has enabled lifesavers to take their IRBs and ATVs on to the beach, Mr Caldwell was very concerned by the steep sand hills that remained.

He did not want a child to suffocate in a sand collapse, he said, as happened in New Zealand a fortnight ago.

As recently as last week, lifesavers had to warn children of the danger of digging tunnels in the sand dunes.

Mr Calwell said he was "sympathetic" to the council's situation, but hoped the completed works would make the beach significantly safer.

Some of the unsafe paths at Bulli Beach. Picture: CHRISTOPHER CHAN

Some of the unsafe paths at Bulli Beach. Picture: CHRISTOPHER CHAN

"We understand the process that council has to go through ... but it's got to become a priority because Wollongong City Council wants to use the beaches for a big tourism plus [but] anywhere from 10 to 12 [patrolled beaches] urgently need some form of work."


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