Artificial reef to transform Clifton Spring coastline

A concept illustration of the sculptural wave attenuator at low tide.

By Luke Voogt

A futuristic artificial reef dreamed up by “world-leading” designer Alex Goad will transform the Clifton Springs coastline in coming months, council has announced.

The sculptural wave attenuator, consisting of a series of “dynamic modular reef units”, replaces failed plans for a sunken gallery at the location.

Council has hired Melbourne-based industrial designer and manufacturer Alex Goad to design and fabricate the reef to provide a home for a colourful array of marine life.

“We are excited to be working with a designer of the calibre of Alex, whose ground-breaking work has attracted international acclaim for its environmental and artistic outcomes,” Geelong mayor Stephanie Asher said.

“The sculptural wave attenuator will enhance the area’s sensitive environment and provide an educational and eco-tourism drawcard that will appeal to a wide range of visitors.”

Council intends the “striking array” of sculptures to recreate marine reef habitats in Port Phillip Bay and prevent coastline erosion along The Dell.

The reef will be colonised by native species including mussels, seaweed and invertebrates, according to council.

“This state-of-the-art project further enhances the city’s reef restoration efforts, following the historical loss of a large amount of shellfish reefs from Port Phillip Bay,” Cr Asher said.

“It will highlight how artistic sculpture and technology can combine with ecology to improve biodiversity and protect our coastlines and marine communities.”

Council intends to install six reef units off The Dell beach this autumn in the initial stage of the project.

The initial stage will cost $30,000. If successful, council plans to build subsequent stages with a total budget of about $200,000.

The reef replaces plans for a sunken gallery at the location, which council in February 2019 announced would be open to the public during summer 2019/2020.

But the sunken gallery, which still had its own website as the Independent filed this report, never passed the planning stages.

The reef’s construction coincides with that of the state government-funded The Dell Historic Mineral Springs Boardwalk, scheduled for completion in coming months.

The projects follow the 2018 installation of a 130m shellfish reef off Portarlington, which has since been colonised by marine communities and prevented erosion along the nearby foreshore, according to council.