The wall, which was built during the Occupation, has already been the subject of one U-turn, after Deputy Al Brouard was successful in his motion to maintain part of it over the next decade with a budget of £200,000.
Prior to that, the States had agreed to demolish 130 metres of the wall and establish dunes and groynes on the beach, at a cost of around £1m.
Work has recently been carried out on the most heavily undermined section of wall, and rock armour will soon be placed on it.
Environment & Infrastructure president Deputy Lindsay de Sausmarez said it had followed the directions of the States.
‘This fulfils the requirement of the requete in the short term, but providing “the optimum chance of the wall remaining intact for the 10-year period” is going to involve a far greater scale of work – and therefore cost – than the requete envisaged, so it is likely that the States will need to decide whether it wants to prioritise retaining that section of wall as a piece of Occupation history.’
The importance of coastal defences was one of the main points in Deputy de Sausmarez’s speech, and she outlined that the States could not ‘just carry on carrying on’ and a new approach was required.
‘Although we invest seven-figure sums in our many miles of coastal defences through our annual maintenance programme and repairs, historic issues of under investment that go back decades must now be properly addressed.’
The wall at Fermain was highlighted as a coastal area that needed more than ‘a little TLC’.
It looks likely that the ‘future-proofed solution’ will involve re-profiling of the cliff and rebuilding the wall in line with the repairs of the 1990s, when the wall immediately to the south of the slipway was reduced in height and brought forward.