For sale: absolute waterfront … on a king tide

DEPENDING on which bit of the city you were in, the arrival of biannual king tides yesterday brought either a mood of great buoyancy, or a sinking feeling.
Nanjing Night Net

For Brad Mooney, a member of the Cooks River Motorboat Club it was a chance to take to Bay Street, Tempe, in a boat and have “a bit of a laugh and a galah about” in view of the club founded in 1917 opposite the spot where Captain James Cook’s anchor was found. Mr Mooney was pretending “to set out a new course in the back street” for the racing season.

He said he attracted a bit of attention from a “couple of old guys looking over the fence”.

But while it was all plain sailing in Tempe, the king tides arrived at Kurraba Point, Neutral Bay, with a crash when residents were given only minutes to flee two blocks of units on Saturday after high tides and a strong chop driven by southerly winds demolished a seawall.

“They said you’ve got two minutes,” said Brian Walton. “I asked when can I come back. They said you might not be coming back. And when I tried to get in a bit later, they wouldn’t let me in.”

Overnight the 2.1 metre king tides, abetted by strong winds, made small work of the waterfront soil and grass, and between 7am and 11am yesterday a further 1.5 metres of foreshore subsided into the harbour, leaving a tangle of rubble and exposing one of the building’s cracked concrete foundations.

“It was all soil and rock this morning but now it’s been washed away,” said Dan Begley, 29, whose unit is directly above the subsidence. “I can fish directly into the harbour from my balcony.”

The seawall had been in danger of collapse for up to two years, but residents said some owners had been slow to act. “If there’s anything good at all that can came out of this, it’s that the strata groups have to learn to be more proactive and less reactive,” Mr Walton said.