News State NSW News Buildings partially collapse after another night of raging seas on the NSW Central Coast

Buildings partially collapse after another night of raging seas on the NSW Central Coast

Part of a house gave way overnight at Wamberal. Photo: ABC News
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Residents on the NSW Central Coast have been urged to evacuate as powerful surf washes away parts of their beachfront homes.

The call comes after two properties partially collapsed after heavy erosion at Wamberal on the NSW Central Coast.

Residents were left to survey the damage after another night of wild seas.

Both buildings damaged overnight are understood to be holiday homes of Sydney residents.

A NSW Police spokeswoman said that residents of up to 30 houses on the street had been advised to evacuate after consultation with structural engineers.

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 said.

“A few of the owners refused to leave. I’m not going anywhere at the moment.”

Locals woke up to further destruction, with part of one home’s wall coming away from the building overnight.

“You can see inside,” Mr Rogers said.

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

“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 owner of a unit in one of the damaged blocks has had the property for eight years.

Her unit is on a floor above the collapsed ground floor corner.

Neighbours informed her of the damage this morning and she is understood to have been distraught.

Fire and Rescue have since cordoned off the homes and residents were being forcibly evacuated on Saturday morning.

A third home, seen in a social media post, has suffered significant structural damage over recent days of heavy surf.

Many residents lost metres of grass overnight, while others have seen their balconies topple more than 10 metres down cliffs into the sea below.

Engineers continue to assess properties ahead of the next high tide at 7:00pm tonight.

Last night police advised residents to leave, with most heeding the warning.

Residents claim they have long been attempting to build structures to protect properties but have been blocked by the Central Coast Council.

The powerful surf conditions were caused by a low pressure system that moved in this week, but which fell short of being declared an east coast low.

In response to the dangerous system, the Bureau of Meteorology issued a hazardous surf warning for the NSW coast.

The warning remains in place on Saturday for Byron Coast, Coffs Coast, Macquarie Coast, Hunter Coast, Sydney Coast, Illawarra Coast, Batemans Coast and Eden Coast.

“Surf and swell conditions are expected to be hazardous for coastal activities such as rock fishing, boating and swimming,” the BOM warned.

One resident has taken extraordinary steps to protect his property, hiring an 80-tonne crane to drop boulders into the surf.

Mr Rogers hasn’t lost much of his land but is concerned fellow residents could face further complications in coming days.

“The problem is this week there’s going to be more swell,” he said.

“There’s going to be another high tide. So what the hell’s going to happen then?”

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.”

Angry residents are blaming the Central Coast Council for “dragging their feet” on building a seawall to protect homes and the entire suburb.

“The anxiety and the stress of everybody here is palpable and it should be for the rest of Wamberal too,” Ms Bryce said.

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

“As well as the $200 million worth of … infrastructure, road, NBN network, utilities – all wasted.”

The council is scheduled to hold an emergency meeting on Monday, and wouldn’t respond to Ms Bryce’s claims but urged people to steer clear of the area.

“Today we’re very much focused on the emergency recovery and response,” a Central Coast Council spokeswoman said on Saturday.

-with agencies