Aerial shots, taken in the wake of recent storm surges by local photographer Lester Hunt, show dramatic movement of sand away from the beach and significant undermining of the primary back beach dune.
The Point Lonsdale Civic Association (PLCA) has written to Environment and Climate Change Minister Lily D’Ambrosio and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) requesting answers and calling for a monitoring program to be established to accurately evaluate the changes.
“The unprotected dune system in Lonsdale Bay has recently experienced undercutting and severe slippage resulting in much of the adjoining headland disappearing, the cliff face retreating and woodland trees collapsing towards the beach,” the Association said.
“[We are] unsure if this latest erosion is due to rising sea levels resulting from changing weather patterns and climate change or recent channel deepening at Port Phillip heads or a combination of both.
“We appreciate this part of the coastline is very dynamic with sand coming and going on a regular basic, however these recent impacts are alarming when you consider the entire dune, woodland and foreshore reserve forms ‘The Narrows', a relatively narrow strip of land leading into the township of Queenscliff.”
The area of beach, also referred to as a terminal scour, has long been a cause of concern.
Previous efforts to halt erosion have included installation of matting on the dune, extensive replanting and fencing.
A Queenscliffe Council spokesperson said the Borough would continue to work with the state government to find solutions for erosion along the entire coastline.
“Council is continuing to work with DELWP to plan for and secure funding for erosion mitigation works across the Borough," he said. "A tender process is currently under way to build additional groynes along the Point Lonsdale foreshore to help retain sand on this beach.
“Council is also preparing a Coastal Management Plan, which was funded in this year’s budget. This plan will comprehensively review the Borough’s coastline and strategically plan to address challenges associated with rising sea levels and coastal erosion,” he said.