Two houses in the New South Wales Central Coast suburb of Wamberal have partially collapsed after powerful surf caused massive erosion near beachfront homes.
Structural engineers were assessing the area on Saturday morning after the partial collapses overnight. A NSW police spokeswoman said residents of up to 30 houses on Ocean View Drive had been advised to evacuate as a precaution.
The vice-president of the Wamberal Protection Society, Margaret Bryce, told the ABC on Saturday morning that the failure to erect a protective wall along the foreshore was to blame for the partial collapses.
“The wall was in development control plans for the Central Coast for at least 20 years and building was allowed on that basis, that a wall would be built here,” she said. “It’s absolutely disgusting that it’s got to this point.
“People [are being] evacuated and displaced and terrified.
“People are taking it upon themselves to protect their own homes because they have no other option.”
Sixty-six additional homes are believed to be at risk of collapsing into the sea.
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.
“The problem is this week there’s going to be more swell.
“There’s going to be another high tide. So what the hell’s going to happen then?”
One resident had taken extraordinary steps to protect his property, hiring an 80-tonne crane to drop boulders into the surf.
A powerful low across Australia’s east coast earlier in the week created large swells and high waves battering some coastal areas.
“NSW SES volunteers have been on the ground doorknocking, advising residents to evacuate,” a spokeswoman said on Friday.
“Our volunteers have been and will continue to support Central Coast council where it can.”
The council is scheduled to hold an emergency meeting on Monday, and would not respond to 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 council spokeswoman said on Saturday.
The council said on Friday there had been significant erosion and sand loss, and urged people to avoid the beaches.
“Council teams have been on the ground checking in on residents in impacted areas, and continuing to monitor coastal infrastructure and coastal lagoon levels,” a spokeswoman said in a statement on Friday.