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Stockton sand submission gains community support

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Stockton residents have thrown their support behind a submission to save its coastline using sand nourishment and seawall extension works.

The news comes as the City of Newcastle’s 28-day public exhibition period came to a close on Tuesday, indicating 74 per cent of submissions were supportive of the Stockton Coastal Management Program CMP.

The CMP received 162 community and 19 agency responses in total, two-thirds from Stockton residents and one from as far afield as North Narrabean.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the high number of submissions showed how important a positive outcome for Stockton Beach was to the community.

“The response from the community has been truly impressive and widely supportive, including well-informed, constructive feedback on the draft CMP and its recommendations.

“Half of all submissions showed specific support for mass, offshore sand nourishment as the preferred option for beach amenity and coastal protection, while other key points included identifying other sand sources and options for fast tracking the process.”

The feedback was particularly welcomed given community engagement occured during COVID-19 restrictions.

“Staff had to work around typical face-to-face engagement activities in order to ensure the community’s voice was heard in the review of the CMP,” the Lord Mayor said.

“Within days of the draft Stockton CMP going on public exhibition, more than 2,000 information packs including a summary of the plan, frequently asked questions and a reply paid feedback form and envelope were sent to each property in Stockton to ensure everyone had a chance to have their say.

“The City also presented comprehensive information on the draft CMP on its website, including an animation, videos featuring Stockton Community Liaison Group Members, and the full report, together attracting more than 3,000 visitors and 436 downloads of the report over the exhibition period.

“Half of all submissions showed specific support for mass, offshore sand nourishment as the preferred option for beach amenity and coastal protection, while other key points included identifying other sand sources and options for fast tracking the process.”

Stockton Community Liaison Group (CLG) Chair Barbara Whitcher said the CLG was supportive of City of Newcastle’s management actions detailed in the CMP.

“City of Newcastle has worked closely with our CLG and delivered an outcome which we broadly support, being mass sand nourishment and minimal buried seawalls,” Ms Whitcher said.

“While we remain vitally interested in exploring in more detail the causal effect of Stockton’s erosion, and funding sources, we generally support the Stockton CMP.”

City of Newcastle’s CMP team will now review the community feedback as well as that from industry stakeholders, and finalise the document including a summary of the issues raised during the public exhibition period, for Council consideration on 23 June 2020. It will then be submitted to the NSW State Government for certification review.

Coastal Councils across NSW are developing CMP’s in line with the Coastal Management Act 2016 with a deadline of December 2021.

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