Sussex threatens class action on dredging

SUSSEX Inlet residents are threatening to proceed with a class action if Shoalhaven City Council does not commit to canal dredging next month.

The problem relates to the long-term silting up of the canals and the entrance to the sea.

Residents formed the Safe Navigation Action Group (SNAG) to lobby council in the hope of having the canals dredged.

SNAG president John Tucker and secretary James Coburn have been involved in the campaign to have the waterways dredged for about 11 years.

“The canals were designed and developed to have a dry sand beach of about three metres right around the edge of the canals next to the residents’ properties,” Mr Tucker said.

“As expected by the developer these sand banks would gradually slide down into the bottom of the canal if not maintained by council with normal re-dredging maintenance every two years as routinely done on the Gold Coast.

“Council has not dredged the canals in 30 years.”

Mr Tucker said the volume of sand that had silted up the canal had reduced the water flow capacity of the canal.

“This reduces the drainage capacity of the canal development causing flood damage to the residents’ properties after heavy rains,” Mr Tucker said.

A report to council’s Policy and Resources Committee identified works were required at Cater Crescent Island Recreational Reserve.

Council is preparing a hydro survey that will compare the cross section of the canals to the approved profile 35 years ago.

However Mr Tucker said he and other residents were fed up with hearing about council studies and wanted to see action.

“Residents are not interested in council’s so-called studies and other means of procrastination,” he said.

“We will accept nothing less than a proper re-dredging of the canal system, replacing the sand on the banks with the excess sand on the canal floor.”

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