Meeting to help turn the tide on Stockton erosion woes

LANDFILL: Workers on site at the former Stockton rubbish dump where 5000 tonnes of household garbage has been stockpiled after it was exposed to the sea by worsening erosion. Picture: Jonathan Carroll
LANDFILL: Workers on site at the former Stockton rubbish dump where 5000 tonnes of household garbage has been stockpiled after it was exposed to the sea by worsening erosion. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

DECADES of household rubbish has being stockpiled on Stockton beach as the suburb continues to wait for a solution to its worsening erosion problem.

More than 5000 tonnes of garbage has been dug up after Fairfax Media revealed in January that an old council landfill site, on Hunter Water land, was spewing rubbish into the sea.

Tubes of nappy rash cream, used bandages, car parts and asbestos were among the items discovered in mounds of household rubbish at the site, just north of Corroba Oval. 

It’s the latest twist to the suburb’s worsening erosion problem that has been an issue for decades. A large area of the tip has since been dug up and the mountain of rubbish covered with geo-fabric.

A Hunter Water spokeswoman said workers had excavated up to four-metres deep and 10 metres behind the high-tide mark.

About 3000 tonnes of sand was brought in to re-fill parts of the coastline. The next phase of work involves installing large sand containers to protect the site from further erosion.

A Hunter Water spokeswoman said the authority was working with Newcastle City Council and the Environment Protection Authority to investigate if further remediation works were needed.

She said the rubbish was being stockpiled on site until an “appropriate” disposal method was identified.

Meanwhile, a community information session on erosion will be held at Stockton RSL on Wednesday from 4.30pm to 6pm.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes will host the session that will look at remediation work, future plans and possible long-term solutions.

Staff from the Office of Environment and Heritage and Hunter Water will attend.

Representatives from Mission Australia will also be at the meeting to discuss the future of the suburb’s only child-care centre that is under threat from erosion.

The centre was forced to close for several days in January when large seas threatened the children’s outdoor play area.

Residents argue that Stockton should be categorized as an erosion “hotspot” to qualify for additional funding, but the state government said last month it did not meet the criteria.

In December, the council removed Stockton from its coastal management plan, which proposes measures to address erosion along the coastline and is submitted to the state government to secure money from an $82 million funding pool. 

It came after the state government’s Office of Environment and Heritage refused to sign off on an earlier version of the plan, which did address a long-term solution for the Stockton erosion problem. 

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