A total of 30 residents of Whitehead’s Marine Parade have signed a petition urging Carrick Council to examine the town’s sea defences.
The document, presented to members of the local authority at Monday night’s meeting of the Building Control committee, was set up in the wake of severe storms which battered the borough’s coastline earlier this year.
The small stretch of coastline in Whitehead was one of the worst hit areas, with councillors suggesting that earlier work to strengthen the defences was never fully completed.
“These homes are lashed with wind, rain and waves during stormy weather but it was after the bad weather in January in particular that residents of Marine Parade became concerned about the sea defences being undermined,” said Alderman Jim Brown.
“Over 15 years ago, we were looking into continuing the promenade from the Rangers Club right up to the entrance to Blackhead Path and a sea wall was put in.
“However, for one reason or another only half of this work was ever done and now it needs to be given urgent attention. One of the residents is concerned the defences are being eroded from below.”
Speaking at Monday’s meeting, Councillor Billy Hamilton indicated that officers must determine which agency had responsibilty for maintenance of the sea wall.
“Residents need assurances that the promenade isn’t going to be washed away; the council needs to approach the proper authorities and make sure the coastline around Carrickfergus is safe,” he said.
Referring to historical repairs made to the defences, Mayor of Carrick Alderman Billy Ashe added: “Without some sort of breakwater we are in danger of losing the swimming pool there. We need the powers that be to do what they set out to do back in 1997 and put a breakwater in on both sides.”
Cllr Eric Ferguson suggested it was also important to consider what lay under the current defences. “Before the work was done in 1997, you could see the older railway sleepers in the holes that appeared in the promenade. They gave us a nice finish at that time but we have to think about what is underneath,” he said.
Ald Ashe proposed that council officers determine which authorities had responsibilty for the maintenance of coastline defences, and that an urgent meeting be arranged with the appropriate agency.
Meanwhile, members suggested that the sea walls at Marine Highway and Rhanbuoy Park also needed attention.