Coastal erosion closes Whitehill Road

Whitehill Road on the brink.

Whitehill Road on the brink.

Beach erosion caused by high tides and strong swells over the weekend have undermined Whitehill Road in Drummond Cove and forced its closure till further notice.

The Drummond Cove coastline from Drummond Point through to the City’s northern boundary with the Shire of Chapman Valley has been suffering the effects of an increased rate of erosion in the past years.

City of Greater Geraldton CEO Ken Diehm said the City has been working with the Drummond Cove Progress Association regarding beach erosion and the impact it’s having on the road.

“Staff have discussed temporary options for Whitehill Road with the Drummond Cove Progress Association which include realigning the road, diverting the traffic or not renewing the road,” he said.

“Although there are a number of options available from letting the area erode naturally through to installing protective measures such as rock sea walls they all come with varying price tags with the cost of protection estimated at $1.5 million.

The Department of Planning has advised the City that undertaking protection works along Whitehill Road could pre-emt the outcomes of Geraldton wide coastal adaptation planning.

“The City has applied for grant funding to undertake coastal adaptation planning which involves a holistic approach that considers the entire urbanised coastline,” said Mr Diehm.

“Without seeing the bigger picture and understanding that erosion is affecting the entire coastline, it’s difficult to make decisions about what could be done.

“The Department of Planning has advised that we wait until the final coastal inundation study for the area between Cape Burney and Grey’s Beach is complete before we begin engaging with the community to develop a Geraldton wide adaptation plan.

“Until then, a temporary adaptation solution for Whitehill Road must be found and in the coming weeks the City will be holding a workshop in Drummond Cove to discuss the temporary options with the community,” Mr Diehm said.

Whitehill Road will remain closed until Council determines its preferred temporary adaptation measure which will be informed by the community consultation.