OUR PROBLEM

Our group sent a letter to Minister Parker congratulating her on her appointment as Minister for the Environment and Heritage and advised of our progress at that time, April 2011. She replied and asked us to send Dr.Mead's Feasibility Study to her and she would have it reviewed as well as having a "A review of Artificial Reefs for Coastal Protection in NSW".
The study was sent to the Minister at the end of September, 2011, but the review by Water Research Laboratories (WRL) a division of the University of NSW, was not finished until May 30, 2012.

It was negative containing many inaccuracies and misstatements. Dr Mead responded in August, 2012, in detail pointing out these things, but despite our many communications, email Dec.1, email Dec.11, 2012 - official letters Feb 23, Mar 15 and May 25, 2013, the Office of Environment have not answered us and WRL still have not discussed the differences in the WRL review and Dr.Mead's response.

We have had correspondence in reply from the Minister's office and the Department of Environment and Heritage, but what we want and have not had is a reason for the refusal to allow discourse between the author of the Peer Review and Dr Mead. - answers to the errors and misstatements in the Peer Review. All this procrastination is disastrous in that it is delaying protection of our beach and replenishment of the sand. Our group would like you to read both these documents to decide for yourself the accuracies or otherwise of each document.

This off-shore reef (OSR) protection of beaches is being used throughout the world. The constant failure of rock seawalls and revetments is acknowledged - OSR's are being placed to protect beaches and rockwalls and revetments by reducing the energy of the ocean hitting the shore.

This is now where we must place our efforts
WE MUST SUCCEED IN CONVINCING THOSE IN POWER WITH PROOF OF THE SUCCESS OF THIS METHOD OF BEACH AND PROPERTY PROTECTION
Read WRL Peer Review
Read Dr.Shaw Mead's answer
NEWS

On December 19, 2013

Laura Black Executive Leader Corporate Support sent the following email to Dr. Mead...

Dr Mead
Last week I sent correspondence to you at ASR Limited, but have since been advised that ASR limited recently went into liquidation. I write with regard to recent claims by community members associated with the Old Bar Sand Replenishment Group in relation to your commitment to construction of an off-shore reef as detailed in the Old Bar Protection Feasibility Study prepared by ASR in 2010 as the foremost coastal protection solution for Old Bar.
As you are aware the University of NSW Water Research Laboratory undertook a peer review of the Feasibility Study and also a review of artificial reefs for coastal protection of Old Bar, at the request of the Minister for Environment, Robyn Parker MP and the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.
In 2010, Worley Parsons prepared a Coastline Management Study that identified the most likely option to provide coastal protection for Old Bar was a revetment wall. More recently, and in partnership with the NSW Office for Environment and Heritage, Council engaged Royal Haskoning DHV to prepare a report and preliminary design for coastal protection structure for Old Bar and a rock revetment wall was recommended.
Throughout this project, which you can read more about on Council's website at www.gtcc.nsw.gov.au/seawall members of the Old Bar Sand Replenishment Group have advised us that you remain committed to the construction of an off-shore reef as detailed in the 2010 Feasibility Study as the foremost coastal protection solution for Old Bar and at a cost of $3M.
Obviously, this has evoked much emotion in the community about the need to spend much more than $3M in order to protect Old Bar, despite alternative coastal engineering expertise to the contrary. To clarify the matter for Council, it would be appreciated if you could elaborate on your commitment and continued involvement in supporting this solution as the foremost solution for Old Bar.
Your reply via email at Laura.Black@gtcc.nsw.gov.au in the next few weeks would be greatly appreciated.
In anticipation of your response, I thank you in advance for taking the time to provide Council with some clarity about the matter.
Regards
To which Dr.Mead replied

Hi Laura
Yes, ASR was liquidated last September 2012, while I resigned as a Director in April 2011 - an American group bought majority shareholding in July 2009 and basically run the company into the ground and stripped all the assets. It was very saddening and a hard decision for me, since I was one of the founders in 1997, however, I am glad of my decision and my new company is doing very well and growing fast.
I started eCoast in October 2011.
I can clarify some of the points you make:
1. The brief for the Old Bar project was to consider the feasibility of an offshore reef for coastal protection. It was not to consider other options.
2. Even so, given the processes involved (i.e. offshore loss of sand, which detached breakwaters/reefs address better than other methods of beach protection), I am of the view that an offshore structure is the best solution for the site.
3. Prof Andy Short and James Carley are also both of the opinion that the erosion at Old Bar is likely due to the chronic erosion of the 'old bar' itself, i.e. the relic river bar that results in Old Bar beach protruding seaward, i.e. a salient. Offshore reef structures are considered to replace what has been lost, as anecdotal evidence supports, i.e. intermittent periods of river-stone conglomerate washing ashore since the 1940's.
4. The WRL review was released by Matt Blacka without James Carley's final review, and he was upset with review in the form that it was it. My personal view is that the review is a disgrace and ignores decades of independent science and engineering with respect to the efficacy of offshore structures. Much of the results were mis-interpretted (i.e. the fact that the crest comes to 0.5 m above low tide, that it was a feasibility study not a final design, etc.).
5. eCoast does not have a construction arm, and while ASR did, I always recommended that construction (once detailed design had been undertaken - which is of note, the project was a feasibility study, and I agree, more design work is required) it should be put out to tender, as there are a wide variety of methods that could be employed to build it and local contractors are often more cost effective than overseas ones.
6. However, my colleges and I at eCoast do have a great deal of combined experience with the construction of coastal structures and the development of beach management strategies, and as I have indicated to the sand replenishment group, we would be available and willing to provide expert support for both detailed design and construction of offshore structures. The feasibility study in 2011 indicated construction costs of $3.7M, while the replenishment group has been aiming for $5M as I understand.
7. A seawall is not a beach protection method, and it is certainly not a method of addressing hotspot erosion successfully. I have already received emails from Old Bar residents that are very concerned that they will lose their beach with the seawall being built. They are correct, seawalls exacerbate beach erosion due to reflection and prevention of the beach forming its own protection through the development of offshore bars (i.e. the sand is drawn off the beach during storms and forms bars that dissipate wave energy). As with all the hotspots on your coast (18 or 19?), if a sustainable solution is sought, then 'managed advance' of the beach is required through hybrid solutions such as combining renourishment, dune stabilization (through the planting of appropriate dune species) and structures to hold the sand in place (in this case offshore detached breakwater/reefs would be most effective).
8. If I had the time, I would review the RH report, which I believe is on-line. However, given the hugely political nature of the project, it would likely be a waste of time. I continue to receive updates from the Old Bar replenishment group, and am often stunned by some of the statements that arise from Councillors and other 'experts'.

A large part of my professional career has been sorting out the many mistakes caused by poor coastal engineering and developing sustainable beach management strategies. I would be happy to sit down with the Council and any number of coastal experts to discuss and develop the best way to sustainably manage the beach of Old Bar.
Kind regards and Merry Christmas!