A draft design for Byron Shire Council’s controversial ‘interim’ rock work proposal for erosion-prone Belongil Beach goes on public exhibition from today for three weeks.
Cr Duncan Dey, one of four councillors who voted against the plans, told Echonetdaily that erecting rocks at the end of three streets in Belongil will only further erode the beach.
‘The very fact that the road reserves are stubs left over after cyclonic devastation of allotments would indicate that this project is flawed,’ Cr Dey said.
‘It adds Council to the list of those putting rocks on the beach. The price for having rocks there is loss of that beach, plus some more beach north-westwards where the rock walls end.
‘Maintaining walls built against this rising force will cost more and more money over the years.
‘I regret that the public is contributing both now and most likely into the future. After we pay now, we are most likely bound to do so for ever.
‘The affordable alternative is a planned retreat, where all parties acknowledge there’s a problem and work together to provide alternative housing for residents, plus secure the beach for future generations to use. Beaches are a classic Aussie icon, aren’t they?’ Cr Dey said.
In a letter to council, the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) says there is ‘nothing in the assessment that acknowledges the significance of the plan footprint of the proposed rock structure and the substantial impact this might have on the public recreational beach space’.
OEH’s coastal specialist Phil Watson added, that ‘the recreational amenity afforded is already severely compromised’.
The draft design and Review of Environmental Factors (REF) will be displayed together.
Meanwhile, beach scraping at New Brighton beach is set to begin on November 11.