Stormy weather

Many impacts from two years of dredging will be long term and subtle, and some may be pretty obvious. What is pretty obvious is that as the global financial crisis spirals downwards, the “business as usual” 5% per annum growth to 2035 that PoMC used to justify channel deepening is looking like a distant dream. Meanwhile as the economy takes a battering so too has the coastline of Port Phillip Bay.   
Already, the Corporation has missed its growth target. Various agencies report trade falling by as much as 40%, and over 700 ships are lying idle in Singapore harbour1 alone! The supposed benefits from channel deepening are now looking so marginal that even one year off target could well turn Mr. Brumby’s dredging dream into a nightmare.  


Thanks to all who sent us reports and images of unprecedented coastal erosion from Port Arlington to Portsea following the recent storm (Sunday 26th April). Here are a few of the images sent to us:





Top: Oliver’s Hill Car park Frankston

Above: Kananook Creek floods higher than living memory 

26.4.09 Images: Astrid Nova


No beach at McCrae 26.4.09. Waves travelled under and behind this boatshed, its foundations have been undermined and the beach has not recovered.

Image: J. Warfe


Bluestone wall collapsed. Very old Banksias undermined. Midden exposed.

Williams Rd. Beach Mt. Eliza 26.4.09.

Image J. Scholes


Local newspaper Mornington and Southern Peninsula Mail has also reported extensively on damage from Portsea to Seaford. See:


Climate scientists are in agreement that sea level rise is happening faster than expected, and that we should prepare for “one in a hundred year” storms every 20 years or even sooner. We don’t hear Mr, Brumby disagreeing. But- the EES and SEES Channel Deepening Inquiries both heard that tide heights would increase as a deepened Entrance would allow more water to flow in and out of the Bay. Why would a responsible government deliberately impose an irreversible increase in tide heights - on top of the unavoidable climate change related increases - onto us?


We are not necessarily saying that all of the recent storm damage is a result of enlarging the entrance to the Bay, but we are saying that the extra water (conservatively estimated in 2004 to be 20 million m3, but now likely to be considerably more) can't have helped and would have added to the impact.

We do not understand why government would deliberately, knowingly increase the risks of coastal erosion and damage to property when they accept that in future we will have higher sea levels from climate change and more storm surges.

More water in the Bay (from climate change and channel deepening) must mean higher waves with more energy hitting the coastline. In the face of much community concern and chapters of evidence about the risks posed by channel deepening, a different, less risky and more sustainable solution wasn’t even seriously pursued. Why, Mr. Brumby?





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