November 26 - December 2, 2023: Issue 607


Pittwater Greens councillor calls for moratorium on seawalls

Collaroy seawall under construction. Photo: Surfrider Foundation Northern Beaches 

Pittwater Greens Councillor Miranda Korzy will call for a moratorium on vertical seawalls at the November 28 council meeting.

Ms Korzy said her motion was triggered by the recent approval of a third section of seawall at Collaroy Beach, despite an overwhelming majority of residents opposing it.  

“The current seven metre high vertical seawall at Collaroy Beach is widely detested by residents,” she said. 

“It forms a massive concrete fortification rising above the beach, topped with a glass fence - surely a mistake at a site exposed to the open ocean - and complete with surveillance cameras.

“This monstrosity protects a handful of homes built on the sand dune.

“I don’t want this wall to become a precedent for any other beaches prone to erosion either on the Northern Beaches or elsewhere else.

“I’m therefore calling for the council to immediately enact a moratorium on vertical seawalls on open ocean beaches.

“The moratorium would not prevent the recently-approved seawall at Collaroy from going ahead - and could not interfere with assessment of any further DAs that might be submitted.

“It aims, however, to pause any council proposals for vertical seawalls until we have reviewed our current situation and other possibilities. 

“This includes revetments - sloping walls regarded by many experts as a superior solution resulting in less beach erosion.”

Collaroy on January 4th 2022. Image: Ian Bird Photography.

Collaroy on January 4th 2022. Image: Ian Bird Photography.

The Northern Beaches Local Planning Panel in September approved the Collaroy extension despite the council receiving 178 written submissions opposing it (93 per cent). 

The beach has also been the site of “line in the sand protests” against vertical seawalls in 2002 and more recently on November 27, 2021

Drawing a line in the sand in 2002. Photo: Surfrider Foundation Northern Beaches photo.

Line in the Sand 2021 -  formed around the mounds of construction. Photo: Michael Mannington, Community Photography

NSW government projections indicate sea level rise will reach 2.3 metres by 2100 if we continue on our current trajectory, and 5.5 metres by 2150 if the Antarctic ice shelf melts, Ms Korzy said.

“The issue now is how to respond,” she said in Background to the motion.

“I believe giant seawalls along our most vulnerable beaches are not what most residents would regard as a clever or desirable solution.

“For that reason, I believe we need to stop and take stock before we do any more damage to these precious natural assets.”

Ms Korzy said the motion will not affect planning for the Manly Surf Life Saving Club, which already has a seawall in front of it.

She has also submitted a motion calling for discussion of advice about litigation regarding the Development Application for Newport Surf Lifesaving Club.

That motion will be discussed in closed session due to the legal action currently underway in which the council is involved. 


The Collaroy-Narrabeen beachfront in September 2021. Photo: Michael Mannington, Community Photography