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Byron Shire
March 3, 2021

What about the other erosion?

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Thanks Echonetdaily for publishing a long-needed exposé on the demise of Belongil used-to-be-a Beach, to Cate Faehrmann for blowing the whistle on it and to Angus Gordon (Letters, 7 June) for highlighting the answers on this saga.

Angus was lead author of the first assessment in 1978 of coastal erosion (Byron Bay to Hastings Point).  His June comment finishes with ‘the coastal erosion problems of NSW, and there are now many, are a state matter and require state driven sustainable solutions’.

If rocks on gaps between other unapproved rocks is the answer at Belongil, then what was the question? I believe the real question is how best to help affected landholders establish lives in places not liable to erosion.

No amount of rock will turn Belongil into that place. Just look at the current scene via your maps app’s satellite view. You’ll see properties on a man-made headland jutting into the sea plus a gully being cut in the surf-zone in front of it.  Sustainable? I don’t think so.

Won’t filling in the gaps with approved rocks run the risk of creating responsibilities for the unapproved rock walls beside them?

A bit like putting bog in holes in a rusty car, it’s the start of a project, not the end.

Will the state government, which just found $300,000 so easily for rocks, keep the tap open on funding for more, for ever?  Or at an increasing rate, if the sea is rising? Hey, that’s unaffordable! And who’s paying?

I understand there are 21 landholders affected at Belongil. And many more in the north of the Shire.

I’ve lodged a motion for 27 June that Council write to the Minister for Planning about erosion at New Brighton and South Golden Beach and seek funding towards a Coastal Zone Management Plan for the Shire’s coastline.

Let’s stop wasting time on rocks and debates at Belongil and get this sorted, and for the whole Shire. Let’s have proper debate, create the plan and inform the state about their (ie our) issue, one that we share with much of NSW.

Duncan Dey, Mullumbimby


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