SAND SAGA: Works underway on Great Keppel Island to address devastating erosion as a result of four major weather events in Central Queensland in the past five years including Cyclone Marcia.
SAND SAGA: Works underway on Great Keppel Island to address devastating erosion as a result of four major weather events in Central Queensland in the past five years including Cyclone Marcia. Facebook

Is this GKI's great sand solution?

SAFETY fears for Great Keppel Island visitors have been raised in a social media post showing aerial photographs of remedial works on devastating erosion on Putney Beach.

The post published on the CQ Camping and Fishing Information Only page Thursday lunch time, after the region was subjected to high tides, raised questions about the works being carried out at the moment and why other options, such as dredging and retaining walls, were not included.

Joanne Coulter wrote "approved reclamation work by Livingstone Shire Council...heaps of objections by locals re way it was to be done...now after the high tides worse than ever.....please avoid the Hideaway area and the beach area as unsafe and could collapse.”

A number of people commented back, saying that there was nothing stopping mother nature.

"Needs to have a full rock wall like Statue Bay is getting,” Matty Gregory wrote.

Rebecca Doak wrote "the direct result of over legislation. Too much red tape and not enough knowledge or experience.”

The post sparked concerned with the GKI Hideaway owners - which includes Sean Appleton and Kelly Harris - along with the region's tourism organisation.

Capricorn Enterprise chief executive officer Mary Carroll said Capricorn Enterprise has been informed that the bistro area of the Hideaway will have three levels of protection before February 17 and the whole project was on target to be completed by Easter 2018.

She pointed to the history of the island's sand erosion saga which started in 2014 after high tides from Ex-tropical Cyclone Dylan resulted in the damage shown in the picture with Sean Appleton.

That was when the group of owners of the Hideaway approached Livingstone Shire Council for possible solutions.

"The council obliged and commissioned a comprehensive investigation into the best and most cost effective way to protect the buildings situated on Putney Beach,” Ms Carroll said.

"Several solutions were investigated, including a rock wall, groins and the Geofabric containers that are currently being filled. Also requested was filling the geofabric containers via a dredge in Putney Bay, however this was deemed too detrimental to the environment by the State Government's EHP (Environment Heritage Protection) and the Federal Government's GBRMPA (Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority).”

Ms Carroll said another issue was that GBRMPA was not approving any new dredging permits in the Park, but if Tower Holding were to go ahead with the redevelopment resort, the dredging for the 250-berth marina on the north-west of the island which has already been approved would solve the Putney Beach erosion issues.

She said the marina would protect Putney Beach and the dredged matter could be used to help revitalise Putney Beach.

In 2015, Livingstone Shire Council approached International Coastal Management (ICM) based in Southport on the Gold Coast for advice and requested a plan be proposed.

"ICM have a terrific reputation in their field and are renowned coastal experts,” Ms Carroll said.

After comprehensive analysis by ICM, council, EHP, GRMPA and Marine Parks - the council approved the permit that is currently being actioned on GKI.

The lessee, in this case Great Keppel Island Bar & Resort (GKI Hideaway), is paying for the project. The Federal Government did provide $220,000 to get the projected started.

"After the contractor's first attempt at what was a considerably larger job than capabilities provided, the project re-commenced towards the end of 2017 with 23 bags now completed,” Ms Carroll said.

"Government authorities have inspected the works and believe that the works that have been completed so far demonstrates the Revetment Wall is doing the job it was designed to do with the sand expected to naturally build up around the bags.

"Upon completion of the wall which will be covered in sand, GKI Hideaway is confident it will provide protection against any future extreme weather events.”



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