Scenes like this have strengthened the argument for an artifical reef to protect the marina.
Scenes like this have strengthened the argument for an artifical reef to protect the marina. Westpac Rescue Helicopter

Artificial reef debate again raised as seas rise

AS MOVES are made to reinforce Coffs Harbour's breakwalls following the latest storm damage, the concept of an artificial reef to protect the marina from damage continues to gain momentum.

The concept is one alternative being considered by government departments dedicated to ensuring Coffs Harbour remains the only all-weather harbour between Port Stephens and the Tweed.

The option, revealed by the Department of Lands at a Coffs Harbour Chamber of Commerce breakfast in 2009, has captured the attention of surfers, who hope the installation would also generate a man-made surf break.

Tourism bodies are also eager to see the reef create a marine ecosystem and snorkelling haven.

Member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser is supportive of the concept as a means to reduce waves overtopping the North Wall after the marina was battered by last month's ex-tropical cyclone Oswald.

"If it is a protective measure that stops wave action impacting on the North Wall I'd offer my full support," Mr Fraser said.

"An artificial reef also has great potential to create a fish and reef habitat.

"I definitely see it as being something that could add to the tourism appeal of Coffs Harbour."

The Jetty Action Group has met with the local member to discuss its support for the reef concept.

JAG says it has undertaken a bathometric survey to assist department staff.

Other options include raising of the northern breakwater crest, construction of a concrete wall or widening the base of the wall on the oceanside.

A state government spokesman said any such development would proceed only after funding was granted to support extensive marine studies.



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