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Byron Shire
June 7, 2023

Belongil foreshore breached

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Screenshot from the footage of last week’s high tide at Belongil, supplied by John Vaughan.

Video footage of last week’s high tide lapping over sandbags near Manfred Street at Belongil has been sent to Byron Shire councillors and staff.

Belongil resident and Byron Preservation Association (BPA) vice-president John Vaughan emailed them the footage and is calling for a review to replace the current interim works currently being carried out on the shoreline.

He claims the footage shows ‘the orientation of the geobags is still contrary to the consent and is 90 degrees out of the correct alignment as approved in the DA in all locations’.

Mr Vaughan also added, ‘The compromised and damaged condition of the interim works since May 2009, particularly at the base levels, is common at all four of the interim work sites at Belongil Beach. It proves BPA’s repeated claim of Council’s failure to monitor and maintain/rebuild as required in the interim wall consent conditions. ‘The BPA considers that a quick inspection at low tide would reveal to any councillor the very compromised state of the interim works,’ he said.

The erosion, according to Mr Vaughan, is ‘by more than three metres from its recent higher profile pre the mid June event’.

‘Council’s Jonson Street works are trapping sand and preventing the natural recovery rate at Belongil Beach. The beach profile at Belongil is lower than it would have been in the beach’s natural state.’

Mr Vaughn says he has also lodged a recent complaint to the NSW ombudsman regarding ‘council’s failure to conform to the consent conditions which outlines the current state of repair of the interim works’.

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  1. I was wondering when Mr Vaughn would restart his posts about the Belongil sand dune structure and his vested interest for council doing what King Canute was asked to do and hold back the forces of nature. This area is a zone where the sand is deposited during favourable sea and wind conditions and then eroded in times of storm and high seas. That’s the way nature works along this sand dune structure.
    I have been monitoring,and photographing the beach sand levels for a few years at this site and have noticed over the past year that deposition of sand has increased along and in front of the Beongil sand dune structure. Albeit if you look at the profiles it has increased more in the horizontal aspect but not in the vertical aspect.
    If anyone has viewed this area, over this time period, it will have been seen that the difference between the available area of sand (beach) is vastly different between very low tide levels and very high tide levels.
    The studies I am undertaking relate to the proposed sea level rises attibutable to the change in the climate that we all see as an ongoing process, wether this will lead to a metre rise in sea levels in the next decades is a hot topic open to conjecture depending on which side of the political spectrum one sits.
    But neverthelessthe area of available sand structure that is available for the local inhabitants and our tourist demographic is becoming deminished at high tide levels.
    The comment by Mr Vaughn that the ‘the orientation of the geobags is still contrary to the consent and is 90 degrees out of the correct alignment as approved in the DA in all locations’, would see groyne structures along this coastal strip causing sand to be deposited on the eastern edge of the groynes and eroded o the western side of these groynes.
    Is this not a contrary scenario to the aims and statements of the Belongil proponents and Byron Preservation Association (BPA) who state that the groyne infront of the carpark exacerbates the erosion of the sand structure at Belongil (both beach and dune systems)and needsto be removed so their dwellings will not fall into the ocean in the future.
    As can be seen in the photo and video the rock retaining walls cause the sand to be removed from this area and infact make the problem of the available sand area for beach users to become markedly less at low tides and non-existent at high tides.
    One of the major selling points for Byron Bay to be a holiday destination is our world renowned beaches, if the sand is greatly depleted along this area, by rock and geo-bag retaining structures not to mention all these new groynes, it will leave tourists looking for another destination beach area to enjoy.
    On the tourism topic the alcohol and associated violence issues added to the future of our beach size will see tourists other than the backpacker segment looking elsewhere.
    Backpackers I have repeatedly spoken to over the years admit that their dollars firstly go to alcohol and clubbing/partying/entertainment, then on accommodation, trips to Nimbin and the rainforest, cheap food in that order.
    So the businesses that stand to loose the most are the alcohol and party orientated ones.

    Paul Tischler, Newrybar

    I would appreciate that this is post is put in a future print version of our Echo.


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