Portsea beach ...it has got worse!

January 2012
The amazing demise of Portsea beach since Channel Deepening is still there for all to see.
More works to defend the indefensible were undertaken late last year by the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE), dumping massive amounts of blue stone boulders on the beach and in the water. During last winter, the massive sandbag wall so recently built in the hope of defending land based assets was already collapsing – despite DSE having estimated it would be good for 20 years. By September 2011, a massive bluestone rock wall had been built at the base of the pier, and soon after another pile of boulders in the water parallel to the beach. Just before Christmas, the rocks in the water were removed, but the massive parapet at the pier remains – probably for ever it seems.  
View to west from Portsea pier 12 January 2012
DSE held an information session at Portsea on 13th December where we were told what we already knew -  that Portsea has lost up to 25 metres of beach over the last year or so, whilst other Bay beaches had lost on average 0.5 to 1 metre. We were advised that there is no evidence that enlarging The Entrance during Channel Deepening is part or any of the cause, and that it is still unclear what is the cause.
We were asked to believe that these massive changes are likely all part of natural variability, and that advice, says DSE they have taken from the Office of Environmental Monitor. Surely it is indefensible to say that channel deepening definitely isn’t the cause, but not be able to say what IS the cause? If it isn’t Channel Deepening, then what IS causing it?
We’ve viewed historical photos of Portsea beach from early 1900s to the present and although there has been some variability, there’s always been a substantial beach and plenty of dune vegetation behind it.
Where once we sat on golden sand under shady trees.
View from “beach” in front of Portsea Hotel looking west 12 January 2012.
We know beaches come and go. Seasonal variability might well be a contributing factor – along with gradual sea level rise, but it doesn’t explain why the beach and dune vegetation disappeared so swiftly and just didn’t come back. If it’s seasonal variability why didn’t DSE wait for the beach to return rather than spending over $2 million to dump thousands of tonnes of sand and rock on the beach?
Lastly, we were amazed to hear DSE admit that if they were unable resolve the erosion problem that, at some point Portsea beach might no longer be viable. Great news for local businesses!
An excellent report of DSE’s December meeting is in the Southern Peninsula News. See: http://issuu.com/southernpeninsulanews/docs/spn_current?mode=embed&layout=http://skin.issuu.com/v/light/layout.xml&showFlipBtn=true

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