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This time last year, there was so much sand banked up on south east Queensland's Kirra Beach that it resembled what some described as the Sahara Desert.

Surfers were turned off it; tourists weren’t attracted to it and local businesses were suffering, all because there was too much sand - hundreds of thousands of cubic metres of the stuff - being pumped there grace of the controversial Tweed Sand By-Pass Project.

Before the By-Pass did its damage to the beach, 2002 was the last year this then famous surfing spot was able to host a pro-surfing event. Back then, it was considered to be one of the greatest sand bottom point breaks in the world.

But things are looking up for Kirra Beach and the Kirra community.

Back in January 2009, a massive public protest was held as a result of the community’s concern over coastal management of the beach, surf and reef amenities and the impact on the local economy. On Australia Day, over 3000 people turned out at Kirra for a ‘Paddle Out’ - some of Australia’s biggest names in surfing among them - calling on Government action to restore Kirra Point.

Shortly afterwards the Queensland State election was called and the Bligh Government offered $1.5 million to return the once famous Point break. Fulfilling their commitment, restoration work began and last month, the Department of Environment and Resource Management revealed that tests undertaken confirmed a leaner beach and parts of the famous Kirra reef re-appearing.

The amount of sand at Kirra Beach has reduced by more than 200,000 cubic metres - that's about 100 Olympic-sized swimming pools of sand - "and consequently, the beach width has reduced significantly, by around 100 metres,” Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Kate Jones Jones said.

So to celebrate the improvements and in an effort to draw more tourists back to the Southern Gold Coast’s beaches, a huge festival is locked in and set to rock Kirra Beach!

The Inaugural Kirra SurfStock Festival will be held from Currumbin to Kirra on November 5 – 8th 2009, featuring surfing events, free outdoor live music, surf movies, a public beach walk and ocean paddle race, Miss SurfStock Quest, charity fundraisers, beach markets and a diverse variety of festivities. To find out more about what’s set to be an awesome Festival of Surf at Kirra, hit the official website!

The job of restoring the beach is not yet done - locals are still calling on all levels of government to renegotiate their 25 year contract of pumping sand. Ms Jones said options are still being investigated for a long term solution that would prevent any future sand build-up at Kirra.

"After this summer storm season, we can reassess the need for further beach works and also at the end of summer, we'll be better able to assess whether this year's sand movements have indeed helped bring back Kirra's famous summer surf break.”

Photo source: Kirra Surfstock website

Posted: Friday October 23, 2009

Published: Oct 23, 2009 9:29am by philippa.

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