Southern Gold Coast residents are shocked and angry sand dunes are being bulldozed to make way for beach volleyball practice courts for April’s Commonwealth Games.
Heavy machinery was driven on to Greenmount Beach yesterday, and stunned locals watched on as tonnes of sand was loaded onto trucks and taken away.
Friends of Rainbow Bay Society spokeswoman Kate Miller said locals were devastated.
“It’s decimated for the sake of a three or four-day event,” she said.
About 2000 cubic metres of sand is being moved 800 metres from Greenmount to Coolangatta, where the beach volleyball competition will be held.
The levelling of the dunes surprised Lois Levy, the president of Gecko, the Gold Coast and Hinterland Environment Council, who said grasses and vines had been ripped up.
“It’s going to take ages to put all of that back again and get the vegetation to grow again,” she said.
“It does seem a strange thing to do given we, as ratepayers, have literally just spent millions on putting sand on to our beaches so that we do have sand dunes.”
Locals say they were not consulted
The Gold Coast City Council last year spent $13.9 million on beach nourishment, which delivered 3,026,758 cubic metres of sand courtesy of a large offshore dredge.
Greenmount locals say they were not consulted about the dune-levelling works, and Ms Levy said that was a serious mistake.
“I think council needs to take a few lessons in communicating with the community, because the local councillor didn’t even know what was going on,” she said.
Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate said it was the job of the 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC) to inform residents.
“I think the consultation should have been foremost with the Games authority,” he said.
The Mayor said his staff was carrying out the works at the request of the Games organisers.
“They’re in charge of the Commonwealth Games and would we be moving the sand if it wasn’t for the Commonwealth Games? No,” he said.
The council said it had the appropriate State Government permits to carry out the work.
Cr Tate said the dunes would be reinstated after the Commonwealth Games.
“Many of the land care and dune care groups have worked to stabilise the dunes and in three hours, gigantic bulldozers can come and bulldoze the lot.”
The Gold Coast City Council is undertaking the works at Coolangatta at the request of GOLDOC.