Dangerous rocks exposed on Stockton Beach

MOTHER Nature brought it to a head in June last year.

The effects of extreme storm surges stripped Stockton Beach to a thin ribbon of sand.

The long-held hope of many locals that authorities would act on the continual erosion problem faced by the coastal strip became a reality.

Newcastle City Council agreed to a $2 million beach restoration program.

Fast forward nine months and hundreds of Stockton Surf Life Saving Club nippers are gathered ready for their weekly Sunday morning competition.

Large, sharp rocks litter the beach, causing the cancellation of the sand events.

Stockton surf club life member Don Bland said parts of the beach were “just far too dangerous for use”.

“You’ve only got to look around to see what we’re dealing with,” he said. “It’s a major safety hazard. To try and tell us the rocks have always been there is complete rubbish. I've been here since 1947 and the rocks are an unwelcome new feature.”

The club’s director of lifesaving, Luke McShane, said volunteer lifesavers had seen a significant increase in injuries in the past few months.

Mr McShane said the problem was getting worse as the sand moved south “uncovering more leftover rocks”.

“While there's no doubt that the conservation works are completely necessary to ensure the sustainability of our beach over the next few years, there's been an obvious failure to address the hazards that have resulted from the work,” he said.

“In and out of the water, we've seen both lifesavers and members of the public sustaining a range of injuries from ripped up toe nails to deep lacerations.”

After being contacted by Fairfax Media, Newcastle City Council’s spokesman said an inspection would be carried by its contractor on Tuesday to remove any exposed rocks.

A further inspection will be carried out next week on extreme low tide.

“Following stormy weather over the past two weeks, around 800mm of sand has been lost from the new seawall at Stockton, exposing a number of rocks leftover from the stockpile. Earlier this month, council officers undertook an inspection and no protruding rocks were visible.”

Council’s spokesman said an “ongoing sand nourishment and rock-screening process” was in place to ensure the beach was safe.

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