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NSW coastal erosion threatening homes may be declared 'natural disaster'

The coastal erosion threatening to cause luxury homes to fall into the sea on the NSW Central Coast could be declared a natural disaster.

The Central Coast Council called an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss the severity of the erosion after the homes of some residents of Wamberal were further compromised in wild storms last week.

Since 2016, residents on Ocean View Drive have been calling for council to build a revetment wall to halt subsidence of the coast, however council has so far failed to take action.

Coastal erosion is seen from the air over Ocean View Dr, Wamberal at Terrigal Beach, on the NSW Central Coast.
Wamberal homeowners are concerned their home will collapse. Source: AAP

As huge storms hit the beach last week, homeowners have described their frustration as again they saw their homes compromised further as the sand outside their properties continued to disappear.

Residents of up to 30 of the multi-million dollar buildings have been told to evacuate because of the danger.

Images and drone footage show homes teetering on the edge of the coast, with structures clinging to what is left of the cliff.

Homeowner Margaret Brice told Yahoo News Australia there used to be a 15-metre clearing from properties to the very edge of the coast, but now they’ve got a measly two.

“We’ve lost all the sand on the beach, probably six metres of our own yards,” she said.

“We now have vertical cliffs outside our houses and all this could have been prevented by building a revetment wall, which has been recommended and in the pipeline in council for nearly 20 years.”

Calls to declare natural disaster

At an emergency meeting on Monday night, the Central Coast Council called on the state government to declare a natural disaster following the severe weather that caused coastal erosion and damaged properties at Wamberal.

"This would enable affected residents to seek assistance and support to recover, while council would be able to access funds to repair infrastructure impacted by the storms," it said in a statement.

Council has acknowledged severe weather caused great distress to residents and said it would not take regulatory action against people who protected their properties over the next four weeks, given it did not have significant adverse impacts on other properties or land.

A set of fallen stairs is seen at the property of Veronica Allison at Ocean View Dr, Wamberal at Terrigal Beach, on the NSW Central Coast.
The Central Coast Council has called an emergency meeting to address the coastal erosion. Source: AAP

Angry residents have blamed the council for "dragging their feet" on building a seawall to protect beachfront homes and the coastline from pounding seas.

Mayor Lisa Matthews added the state and local governments had to work together on the issue.

“This is not a time for blaming each other – it is a time for us to work together to deliver long-term solutions for the coast, including those who have been so terribly impacted by this event,” she said in a statement.

The collapsed varander of a house at Wamberal Beach.
A verandah has collapsed at an Ocean View Drive home in Wamberal. Source: AAP

The Central Coast Council has also urged the NSW government to fast-track recommendations of the Wamberal Beach Management Options: Cost Benefit snd Distribution Analysis Report finalised in 2017.

The report suggests a range of options, including building a seawall and sand replenishment.

Beach erosion is also affecting nearby residents of The Entrance North, who will be briefed on the situation at 7pm Tuesday.

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