Locals protest beach sand delivery

The Department was forced to suspend work on the project, already in full swing, ordering an investigation into the public?s concerns.

As part of an $8 million beach renourishment project entitled Enhancing Our Beaches, sand was delivered from a Gippsland quarry to the popular beach in Black Rock.

While the DSE claims Half Moon Bay requires protection from erosion and storm events, residents are claiming their once golden beach has been turned red.

According to The Age, locals believe the sand being used to ?renourish? the beach is really just ?red dirt?.

?They’re ruining a golden beach with red dirt,” resident Michael Schuh told the paper. “There’s a stark difference between the beach and the dirt. You’ve also got the red dirt sinking already into the water. It’s clouding up all the water.”

A statement from DSE claimed the project is being carried out after ?consultation with local key stakeholders groups and the Bayside City Council?.

But, while the council did give in-principal support to the plan, stakeholders such as the Sandringham Foreshore Association and the Half Moon Bay Surf Life Saving Club claim they were only given a day?s notice of the meeting, leaving them no time to register any objection.

The DSE decided to add sand to the Half Moon Bay beach following an independent study in 2008, which, according to the department, identified that the beach was thin and created a risk to public assets.

But, since the story appeared late last week, the DSE quickly put the anchors on the project for an ?urgent investigation?.

Residents? concerns about the sand?s red tint, however, might be ill-founded. According to officials at the DSE, the sand was carefully chosen from a Gippsland quarry at a cost of $500,000.

?The sand has been sourced from a quarry through a strict tender process to ensure that it meets the specifications required,? said DSE Port Phillip regional director Rodney Warren. ?After the sand is placed and spread it will take several weeks for it to settle to a natural profile. During this time the sun and salt will bleach it to a more natural colour.?

The beach is the site of an artwork by Arthur Boyd, painted in 1940. It depicts the beach much as it is now.

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