THE NSW Environment Protection Authority has ordered Central Coast Council to cease sand dredging at The Entrance.
The EPA has concerns about possible environmental impacts of the dredging, but the council said it had fully complied with its licence requirements.
“Following a community complaint, the EPA investigated the discharge of sediment to waters at the North Entrance Beach as a result of dredging being carried out by Central Coast Council,” an EPA spokesperson said.
“This apparent breach of the council’s environment protection licence is being investigated and the EPA issued a prevention notice requiring council to cease the discharge of sediment to waters.”
The council said it had moved 45,000 cubic meters of sand from The Entrance channel as part of its biennial dredging program.
The sand is used to replenish North Entrance, Karagi Point and The Entrance beaches.
Council’s environment and planning director, Scott Cox, said council had been dredging on behalf of the state government for the past 25 years.
“The program helps maintain the exchange of water between the estuary and the ocean, preserves the existing ecological values of the estuary, and reduces the impact of flood risks to life and property in low-lying areas around the estuary,” Mr Cox said.
“Council has a number of strict licence conditions in place which ensures the local environment and the community are protected and we are confident that we have fully complied with these conditions.
“We take our obligations under the licence seriously and will work with the NSW Government to assess the allegations made in the prevention notice.
“We understand there may be some community concern about the program not finishing this year. We will continue to work with the NSW Government and will keep the community informed as we progress.”
The dredging had been expected to continue for a few more weeks, but it will not resume again this year.
The dredging program is partially funded by the state government.