Sydney’s Shark Beach in Vaucluse to be closed all summer due to dam construction delay

After several months of wild weather, one of the best beaches in Sydney will be closed to the public all summer.

Incessant downpours and devastating flooding have delayed Nielsen Park’s dam replacement by several months, meaning the upgrade won’t be completed until next year.

Work on Shark Beach in Vaucluse, which began in March 2022, was originally scheduled to be completed by December, just in time for the busy Christmas period.

But this summer, Sydney residents were left without the iconic harbor beach, and the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service confirmed the sad news with the Sydney Morning Herald.

While the NPWS said it had budgeted for adverse weather conditions, a spokesman said heavy rains and flooding had stalled a number of projects.

“Continued bad weather has delayed a number of projects in the Sydney area, including the replacement of the Nielsen Park dam, a new whale-watching platform at Solander Point, and North Head upgrades by several months,” an NPWS spokesman said.

Listed as one of Sydney’s nine best beaches by Tourism Australia, locals and visitors alike flock to its waters during the summer, as well as Bill Dracopoulos’ Restaurant and The Nielsen Kiosk on its shores.

Both facilities were closed for dam reconstruction.

The 160-meter barrier, which has stood since the 1930s, was damaged in a storm in 2016 and has reached the end of its service life, according to the agency.

The upgraded dam is expected to provide greater protection to Nielsen Park.

The work will also include a wheelchair accessible ramp, an updated promenade, and a small extension of the lawn and beach surface.

Woollahra Mayor Susan Wynn said that while the delay is disappointing, “there’s nothing we can do.”

“If it’s not ready, it’s not ready,” she said.

“It needs to be done.”

Ms Wynn acknowledged that the extended closure will see nearby harbor beaches like Camp Cove in Watsons Bay, which are already packed to the brim in the summer, facing serious pressure this summer if the weather is good.

But that doesn’t seem to be the case, as the city is poised for its wettest year ever.

After a record 1,547.4mm of rain between January and June and record rainfall in July, the Bureau of Meteorology predicts a bleak next few months for the state.

With above-average rainfall expected in August, September and October, Sydney’s annual rainfall record of 2,194 millimeters is likely to be broken, with the state already facing 1,913 millimeters this year.

Originally published as One of Sydney’s most popular beaches to close all summer due to construction delays