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Coastal study report recommends artificial reef
Picture: Laurie Benson A 30m stretch of the Emu Point bike path has been lost to erosion.

An artificial reef costing up to $27 million is one option which will be considered as part of the City of Albany’s long-term plan to control erosion at Emu Point.

A recently completed coastal management study by consultant URS Australia was expected to determine a preferred option for the area between Emu Point and Middleton Beach.

However, the report, presented to stakeholders last Tuesday, found further studies would need to be conducted before a definitive long-term option was chosen.

Friends of Emu Point president Ken Drummond said he was disappointed a clear management strategy had not yet been identified, despite four previous studies being completed in 1992, 1993, 2000 and 2003.

“I would have thought that perhaps they were going to come up with an answer, I thought that’s what this report was about,” he said.

However, Mr Drummond said he was confident the right long-term decision would eventually be made, and praised the City for committing to short-term emergency works at Oyster Harbour Beach as a result of the report.

The City’s audit and finance committee has recommended council allocate $300,000 to reinstate the collapsed rock wall and recharge the beach by this summer.

In addition to the $27 million submerged reef, other long-term options mooted in the report include raised offshore or near-shore rock breakwaters at a potential cost of $11.5 million and $7 million respectively, and general ongoing beach nourishment and monitoring at a cost of $7 million.

A “managed retreat” option, which would remove existing erosion control structures, was considered unlikely as it would result in infrastructure at Emu Point being threatened.

The report recommended further studies be completed to identify which of the long-term options was chosen, or if a hybrid option should be considered. This would include attempting to gain access to wave and wind modelling data gathered by Grange Resources as part of its port dredging project.

Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington said the City would continue its strong working relationship with the Department of Transport, which partly funded the $70,000 study, and other key stakeholders in determining a long-term strategy.