Council Calls for Action on Sand Build-up in Harbour

Published on 28 July 2022

MV Port Frederick.jpg

The dredger MV Port Frederick in Coffs Harbour.Image courtesy of Coffs Harbour Regional Museum.

Council has written to the NSW Premier, NSW Minister for Transport and local member Gurmesh Singh MP calling for a return of regular dredging of the harbour.

The letter was written following unanimous support for a motion put forward by Councillor Scott Wolgamot at the 9 June 2022 Council Meeting. The motion called for a letter to be written to NSW Government representatives requesting prompt action to:

  1. Remove sand from the harbour in a similar manner to that employed 21 years ago with a dredge and barge to deposit the sand in the ocean off Park Beach.
  2. Design and construct a permanent system for sand bypass or sand removal from the harbour.

The Notice of Motion pointed out that the royal yacht Britannia was able to enter the harbour in 1970 and, in the 1980s, the Navy’s Oberon-class submarines were regular visitors. But yachts that race from Pittwater to Coffs Harbour every year cannot now enter the inner harbour due to the build-up of sand.

It also highlighted a previous proposal to install a pipe and pump system that a small dredge could hook up to, sending the sand to Council’s Howard Street depot where it could be de-watered, with the water returned to the ocean via the old, unused outfall pipe. The proposal suggested that the sand could then be sold for concrete use or for fill sand to help pay the costs of the operation.

No responses have so far been received from the Minister for Transport and Premier. Mr Singh has responded saying that a copy of the letter he received from Council has also been forwarded by his office to the Minister for Transport.