NSW residents evacuate as 'powerful' waves threaten waterfront

Yahoo News Australia and agencies
·3-min read

Residents have been urged to evacuate their waterfront homes with fears several houses may be at risk of slipping into the sea.

The coast lined with luxury properties in Wamberal, on the NSW Central Coast, has been eroding away for years and while residents along the coast are bracing for intense storms, police are recommending people evacuate.

A NSW Police spokesperson said residents in 30 houses along Ocean View Drive in Wamberal have been advised to evacuate after structural engineers were consulted.

Coastal erosion is seen from the air over Ocean View Dr, Wamberal on the NSW Central Coast on Saturday.
Coastal erosion is seen from the air over Ocean View Dr, Wamberal on the NSW Central Coast on Saturday. Source: AAP

Two homes on the coast have already been impacted, partially slipping into the sea.

Wamberal Protection Society Vice-President Margaret Bryce says the damage is more extreme than in 2016 when another severe weather event caused significant erosion along the coastline.

"It's worse in that we've got two houses falling into the sea," Ms Bryce told ABC TV on Saturday.

"Police had come last night and told people not to sleep there and people are being displaced."

In addition to residents being advised to evacuate, the Central Coast Council has pleaded with people to stay away from the area if they do not need to be there.

One of houses in Wamberal that has lost one of its walls. Source: 10 News First Sydney
One of houses in Wamberal that has lost one of its walls. Source: 10 News First Sydney

“Sightseers and other non-resident or non-essential visitors make it difficult for residents and essential services to do their work,” Central Coast Council wrote on Facebook.

“They also endanger their own and others’ safety if they enter or go near eroded areas.”

Chris Rogers, who lives on Ocean View Drive, said State Emergency Service workers were cutting off power, water and gas to homes along the street on Saturday morning.

"They're saying it's a safety precaution," he told AAP.

"A few of the owners refused to leave. I'm not going anywhere at the moment."

Residents on Ocean View Dr, Wamberal at Terrigal Beach, on the NSW Central Coast have been told to evacuate, after two homes have already partially fallen into the ocean. Source: AAP
Residents on Ocean View Dr, Wamberal at Terrigal Beach, on the NSW Central Coast have been told to evacuate, after two homes have already partially fallen into the ocean. Source: AAP
Concrete blocks are craned onto the beach to stop coastal erosion next to houses at Wamberal Beach, on the NSW Central Coast, Saturday, July 18, 2020.
Concrete blocks are craned onto the beach to stop coastal erosion next to houses at Wamberal Beach. Source: AAP Image/Darren Pateman

One home was completely exposed as the wall fell away from the building overnight, Mr Rogers said you could see inside the home.

“They'll lose their decks and maybe that might pull half a wall off but the house isn't going to topple in,” he said.

"There's a lot more verandahs and balconies that have been toppling in and hanging over the edge.

"There's just cliff faces now. There's no stairs. There's no access. It's just a dead-set drop."

The Bureau of Meteorology forecast “large and powerful surf conditions” on the Central Coast for Saturday night.

Residents are pointing their fingers at the Central Coast Council for not erecting a seawall to protect their seafront properties.

“This situation has been going on for four years with Central Coast Council and all we ever wanted to do four years ago was have the right as a basic Australian to protect our property,” Warren Hughes, who lives on the south end of Wamberal Beach, previously told Yahoo News Australia.

“If this dune breaches, that lagoon behind us, all those lower-lying houses which have no meaningful foundations, will be breached too,” Ms Bryce told AAP.

Residents are blaming the Central Coast Council for not taking action. Source: AAP
Residents are blaming the Central Coast Council for not taking action. Source: AAP

"As well as the $200 million worth of... infrastructure, road, NBN network, utilities - all wasted."

In a statement to AAP, a spokesperson for the Central Coast Council said staff would focus on the emergency recovery and response.

– with AAP

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