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Cowes East Foreshore - Coastal Protection Structures

Project Summary

The development of construction plans has been completed for new coastal protection structures within the section of the Cowes foreshore between Rose Avenue and Coghlan Road.

Proposed works include:

  • Construction of eight new timber groynes (i.e timber walls that extend into the sea at right angles to the shoreline): to replace the existing deteriorated groynes.
  • Sand renourishment to fill the new groyne fields.
  • Construction of a new 300 metre rock seawall: to replace the existing deteriorated vertical timber and timber/rock seawalls.

These works are being conducted to protect the foreshore, including the including the beach, dunes and public access from erosion. Over the past decade, erosion in the area has increased and the existing structures that were built to minimize erosion are now degraded. During storm surge events, waves overtop or pass through the seawalls, taking away important sand and coastal vegetation. The existing groynes are no longer fully functioning in their role to help maintain a sandy beach. The existing structures are also a risk to the safety of beach users.


Available budget for construction of the groynes and seawall and sand renourishment is:

$1,535,741 - Bass Coast Shire Council

$1,050,000 - Federal Government: Environment Restoration Fund

$2,577,741 - TOTAL

Images above: Waves overtopping or passing through the current deteriorated seawalls is resulting in erosion of coastal land, further threatening assets.


Construction Timeline

Construction of timber groynesSeptember 2021 - December 2021
Sand renourishment to fill new groyne fieldsDecember 2021 - April 2022
Construction of the rock seawallFebruary 2022 - December 2022

All works will be staged in order to minimise disruption over the summer holiday season and other peak times. Please note, these times are subject to favourable weather, contractor availability and supply.

Notice of Works

View the works happening on the ground

Bass Coast Shire Council (BCSC) wishes to advise of the commencement of timber groyne construction works along the Cowes East Foreshore area in late August 2021.

Works are anticipated in week starting Monday 23 August 2021 and be completed at end of November 2021, subject to weather, tides permitting and any further state COVID-19 restrictions

MAW Civil Marine Pty Ltd have been awarded the Contract for this project, as part of Council’s adopted Capital Works Program 2021/2022. This project is fully funded by Federal Government Environment Restoration Fund. The total project cost is in the order of $730,000.

Back in 2018, three (3) 24 metre long timber groynes were constructed for Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP). This existing three-groyne field to the west of Rose Avenue in Cowes shows the improvement of beach amenity that can be achieved. Since their construction, sand has been accreting between the groynes which indicates the success of the project to improve the public amenity and protection of the foreshore. It is envisaged that these eight (8) new groynes will accrete sand like the previous 2018 groynes and provide coastal protection of the foreshore.

Benefits for the community

  • The purpose of the eight groynes is to improve the beach amenity by accreting sand for public use and to reduce the size of waves that currently attack the damaged rock revetment and the foreshore.
  • Bass Coast Shire Council (BCSC) with funding from the Federal Government and assistance from Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), will extend the groyne field at Cowes East Foreshore (Rose Avenue to Coghlan Road) by constructing eight (8) timber groynes, 30 metres long over approximately 500 metres further to the east of Rose Avenue. Two (2) groynes will be replaced and six (6) are new.
  • Groynes control beach material and prevent undermining of foreshore seawalls and land. Groynes interrupt wave action and protect the beach from being washed away by longshore drift. Longshore drift is the wave action that slowly erodes the beach.

What to expect

The project will include, but is not limited to:

  • The driving of timber piles to refusal by an 40 tonne excavator with pile driving equipment. Timber planks will then be bolted to the piles to form the 30 metre long groynes.
  • Removal of two (2) existing and other redundant timber groynes
  • No native vegetation removal required during the works.
  • A small site shed will be placed on the east side of Rose Avenue at the beach end.
  • Appropriate traffic and pedestrian control measures will be implemented at Cowes East Foreshore Area during these works. This will be a construction zone and for your own safety and others, there will be some beach access restrictions. Limited emergency access will be provided.
  • Our staff and contractor will notify nearby residents and user groups who may be impacted by these works. We appreciate that these works may present a significant inconvenience to you all. We ask for your patience during these works.
  • The project will result in noise and vibration from heavy plant and machinery used for construction, including offshore pile driving, and use of trucks and cranes for removal or delivery of materials.

Staying informed

Council recognises that it can be a challenge to deliver the necessary works and not affect the residents and public users of the beach, especially when much of our work is determined by favourable weather and tidal conditions, contractor and supplier availability and any COVID-19 restrictions.

The community, local residents, businesses and other stakeholders will be kept up to date with the project via Council’s website and letter box drops or mail outs, where appropriate. For information or assistance:

Thank you in advance for your patience and cooperation.

Staying Informed

Council will provide further updates on the project once details become available. This will include further engagement about construction of the seawall, after a contractor has been appointed and a detailed works schedule and traffic management plan has been developed.

For further information or to provide feedback please contact Council’s Coast and Bushland Team on:

Frequently Asked Questions

What has been undertaken to date?

In 2020 Council engaged BMT Commercial Australia Pty Ltd (BMT) to undertake an investigation into coastal processes and erosion at the foreshore project area between Rose Avenue and Coghlan Road. BMT were asked to provide a report containing recommended works to respond to erosion. View the Cowes East Foreshore Erosion Protection – Functional Design Report (July 2020).

Council has since gone about delivering on the recommended works of the BMT (2020) report. Competed works to date include:

  • Feature and topographical survey works to inform the design of protection structures.
  • Construction plans for eight new timber groynes.
  • Tender for the construction of 8 new timber groynes and removal of existing deteriorated groynes.
  • The development of construction plans and quantity survey for a new 300 metre rock revetment to replace the existing deteriorated vertical timber and timber/rock seawalls.
Why is construction of the seawall planned to commence in February 2022?

Council has only recently acquired funding to construct the seawall, enabling the tender process to commence. There is insufficient time to go out to tender to allow construction to commence until after the current storm surge season, which normally ends around October-November.

Council does not support construction over the peak summer holiday season due to the potential community impact, including disturbance around the neighbouring roads from truck movements and occupation of a popular beach.

How has the height of the seawall been determined?

As the landholder of coastal Crown land and in accordance with relevant policy, the State Government require the crest height of the seawall to be constructed to accommodate the 2070 projected sea level combined with a storm tide and a 1 in 100 Average Recurrence Interval (ARI) wind and wave event. If not designed to this height the project would not be granted the required approvals.

Why has Council been using machinery to shift sand along the foreshore?

Due to the loss of function of the existing structures, in recent years, Council has protected vulnerable assets from erosion by using a technique called beach scraping. This technique involves using machinery to move sand from the nearby beaches and intertidal areas and placing it in front of the vulnerable assets. This is considered “sacrificial sand” as it is likely to be taken away during future erosion events. However, it provides a role in protection against further landward shoreline advance as a temporary measure until the new coastal protection structures are built.