A GROUP of home owners at Boyne Island could be fined and forced to explain why they tried to protect their homes from being washed away.
With each high tide and storm, more of the shoreline in front of homes along Island Esplanade disappears.
The water is now less than 5m away compared to more than 20m about 15 years ago, residents say.
This week's high tides will peak at 4.47m when the water will come within 3m of one resident's back door.
That woman, who asked us not to name her, for fear of prosecution, has been asking the State Government to take preventative action since 2007.
Last January she had a retaining wall built around her backyard, which once backed onto sand dunes that have long since washed away.
"The water was half a metre from my front door during a king tide," she told us. "We had to do something."
After informal discussions with the council failed to assure residents whether action would be taken to protect their homes, others on that street pitched in to build their own wall.
But with no approved development application they could all face penalties including fines and being issued with a 'show cause notice' asking them to explain why they shouldn't be punished.
A spokesman from Department of Environment and Heritage Protection said the department was working with Gladstone Regional Council during its investigation.
If they find the residents have breached legislation the punishment could include warning notices, penalty infringement notices, court orders and prosecution.
The council can undertake emergency works to protect private property.
However, all developments for erosion protection works need a State Government permit even if that is after the fact.