THAT SINKING FEELING: Experts are divided over whether the ongoing Inskip Point sandslip problem is best solved through human intervention or letting nature take its course.
THAT SINKING FEELING: Experts are divided over whether the ongoing Inskip Point sandslip problem is best solved through human intervention or letting nature take its course. Rainbow Beach Helicopters

Idea to fix vanishing Inskip a money pit, expert says

SHOULD Inskip Point be left to become Inskip Island?

This is the suggestion of USC Earth Science lecturer Peter Davies after the latest sinkhole swallowed more of the popular beach at the weekend.

Asked about whether an artificial reef could solve the problem, as suggested by geotechnical engineer Allison Golsby in an interview with the ABC this week, Mr Davies said the idea had the potential to become a "money pit” with no guarantee of success.

The modelling required and "inherently unstable” area could easily make any artificial reef a "money pit” in need of constant support from governments, he said.

The sinkhole began ripping chunks of beach away on Sunday morning.
The sinkhole began ripping chunks of beach away on Sunday morning. Chris Fry

It would have to be anchored in the bedrock and stretch along the foreshore for it to work as a shore retainer, he said.

Even then it was still possible the water would "eat around behind and isolate (the reef)” and erode the beach.

Amenity would be another problem.

"People like swimming and fishing off there,” Mr Davies said.

Perhaps the best solution, he said, was to let the erosion continue until Inskip Point became its own island.

"It seems to be accelerating,” he said. "It's happening with a regularity that's a little unsettling.”

Perhaps, he said, it would be better to let nature take its course.

SINKHOLE: Chris Fry captured the moments another sinkhole opened up at Inskip Point.
SINKHOLE: Chris Fry captured the moments another sinkhole opened up at Inskip Point. Chris Fry

"The more we interfere with the system, it's really difficult to maintain that control.”

It was a view shared by Rainbow Beach Fishing Charters owner Mathew Cooper, who said the point could be eaten through entirely within the next five years.

"I'd normally say artificial reefs are not a bad idea anywhere... but I'm not sure if it's going to achieve too much.”

Ms Golsby said the sinkholes were an ongoing problem and last weekend's incident was unlikely to be the last.

"This issue is going to continue, and as far as we have records it has continued in the past,” she said. "That's probably enough evidence that it is going to happen in the future.”

She said a reef should be considered to help secure the area, and double as a tourism draw.

"That could be a benefit for everybody ... we could have wonderful fish coming in, we could have another tourism opportunity to attract more people to the area.”

Gympie Times


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