The Point Lonsdale Boardrider’s Club (PLBRC) is concerned rocks now prominent on the disappearing coastline pose a genuine risk to participants of its popular Grom’s Day Out.
President Ross Bird has urged authorities to start looking at remedies to stem the loss of sand, including the possible re- installation of timber groynes.
“Photographs from the past show the Point Lonsdale front beach with a sandy beach, with limited rocks. Surfers from the 50s,60s and 70s remember a very different beach than is there today. Yes, there have always been rocks on the beach but today most of the beach area opposite the shops has rocks exposed,” Mr Bird told The Rip.
“It has been suggested that the original series of wooden groynes is the best solution. Unlike a solid rock wall, the wooden groynes allow water to pass through but traps the sand.
“I believe its time we put our heads together and came up with a solution that reclaims the sand. I doubt it will be cheap but it will benefit locals, tourists and also the local economy that will suffer if we don’t have a beach,” he said.
The Grom’s Day Out is scheduled to take place on Sunday April 10. Traditionally it attracts upwards of 50 junior surfers.
The Club will make a decision in coming days on whether or not to shift the event to Ocean Grove, Mr Bird said.
Point Lonsdale Morning Swimmers Group member Mandy Grbac echoed Mr Bird's concerns: “On fuller tides, we have had to change where we enter the water as the rocks and the old groynes are razor sharp and a number of hands and feet have been cut over the summer.
“It’s a very dangerous environment especially when you see young kids who love surfing ‘off the wall’ - once the surf is at high tide it hits the wall and gives a free ride back out again.”
Mrs Grbac said concerns were raised at a meeting with Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) officials late last year, but appear to have fallen on deaf ears.
“I voiced my opinion at that meeting back then but I don’t think they listened, hence they only continued with the building of the rock wall below the bowling club but no groynes. It’s a no brainer,” she said.
A Borough of Queenscliffe spokesperson said recent weather had contributed to “short term erosion” at the beach.
“All beaches along the coast can be impacted by erosion. Sand levels on local beaches rise and fall. Short-term coastal erosion is a normal coastal process and natural occurrence,” she said.
"DELWP and the Borough of Queenscliffe are monitoring sand movement at the Point Lonsdale Bight and if new structures are required we will work with the community on how they will look and where they will be located.
“The beach is still open and available for normal coastal uses including surfing, fishing, walking, swimming and surfing. People should remain aware that there may be less sand to play on with exposed bedrock, bluestone rubble and old wooden groyne pylons now visible.”
The Department is preparing sand monitoring guidelines to better understand and record sand movements at Point Lonsdale.
“Residents and interested groups will be asked to provide regular photos and measurements of sand levels on the beach,” said DELWP Senior Environmental Planner Frances Northeast.
More than $300,000 has been spent on remedial works at the beach in the past 12 months - chiefly on a new rock wall at the base of the playground.
Further works to repair the bluestone seawall are due to start this month.