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Byron Shire
May 14, 2021

Holding back nature

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I was wondering when Mr Vaughann would restart his posts about the Belongil sand-dune structure and his vested interest in 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 Belongil 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 attributable to the change in the climate that we all see as an ongoing process. Whether 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 nevertheless the area of sand structure that is available for the local inhabitants and our tourist demographic is becoming diminished 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 on 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 in front of the carpark exacerbates the erosion of the sand structure at Belongil (both beach and dune systems) and needs to be removed so their dwellings will not fall into the ocean in the future?

The rock retaining walls cause the sand to be removed from this area and in fact 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 geobag 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


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