The Herzliya municipality is proposing a plan to develop its beaches, including the building of breakwaters to protect the coastal cliffs from collapsing. But environmental activists claim that breakwaters are the wrong solution and will actually worsen the problem.
The plan, which the municipality recently showed to Green Party activist Dror Ezra, has three goals: protecting the cliffs, which are in danger of collapsing, widening the beaches and improving pedestrian access to the beaches. The current narrowness of the beaches makes it hard for people to move about them freely, the city found.
The city’s experts and the municipal tourism development corporation examined two options - one involving the construction of breakwaters and the other without them. Their conclusion was that breakwaters should be built parallel to the shore along most of the city’s coastline, in order to protect the cliffs from the full force of the waves. The breakwaters would also cause sand to accumulate on their landward side, thereby eventually widening the beach.
The plan calls for four breakwaters along the beach south of the Herzliya Marina, with the goal of widening that beach by 40 meters. In addition, a wall will be built to keep pedestrians off the cliffs. Additional breakwaters are to be built along the main beach north of the marina and its widening by a few dozen meters.
However, the plan has not yet been approved by any of the relevant planning and building committees. It also depends on the outcome of a study the city has commissioned on the currents in the area.
Ezra said that his party favors expanding the beaches by adding artificial sand, without building any breakwaters. “In recent years, it’s been proven that waves aren’t the main cause of the cliffs’ erosion, and on the two Herzliya beaches where breakwaters were built, major rockslides occurred,” he explained.
He also charged that the real purpose of the plan was to enable real estate development. Construction is forbidden within 100 meters of the coast, so moving the coastline westward would free up land that is currently in the forbidden zone.
Surfers are upset by the plan as well. Herzliya is currently a very popular surfing site, but surfers say the breakwaters will interfere with their surfing and lower the water quality.
The municipality commented that it is currently conducting an environmental impact study of the plan.