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Byron Shire
June 20, 2021

Belongil con

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Re your article ‘Belongil rock wall to go ahead’, (Echonetdaily December 24), what an appalling Christmas gift for Byron Bay.

Thank you to Basil Cameron, Simon Richardson, Paul Spooner and Duncan Dey for speaking out against this woeful bit of closed-shop decision making, which will have far-reaching impacts on the health and attractions of the region.

The conservative pro-business majority of councillors who were funded by Belongil landowners can now claim to have damned future fiscal growth as well as public amenity in this once iconic township. With a broken and damaged beach, I imagine a gradual decline in visitor numbers, with resorts, holiday lets and restaurants all feeling the pinch over time.

I know of no other beach destination on our vast coastline that has so thoughtlessly destroyed the environment that feeds them.

I despair!

Jan Hackett, Byron Bay

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  1. Travel to Cardwell in North Queensland to see what has happened from using rock barriers to protect a township.What was once a beautiful sandy beach ,not unlike Byron Bay ,has been lost.The ocean laps against the base of this rock barrier ,the beautiful sandy beach is lost forever.The residents at the Belongil will always be able to jump into ocean from the boulders and a new bay will be formed on the north side.We will end up with Belongil Bay and not Belongil Beach.The Belongil Bunyip will need to find another stretch of golden sand to live on.

  2. It’s a mystery what Jan actually wants or thinks can be achieved by not infilling the last few small gaps in the rock walls at Belongil Beach. Most of Belongil has been protected by rocks that can’t be removed (by Statute) for up to four decades. Does Jan think it’s OK to protect the town centre at a direct and costly impact on the Belongil community? What is your alternative plan Jan?

    Geoff Bensley has tried to compare the potential infill of the few small gaps in the Belongil rock walls with a lost beach in Cardwell in North Queensland, you simply can’t do that.
    There are entirely different well studied coastal processes at work here in Byron. Byron Bay has an average but variable yearly incoming new sand supply of almost 500,000 cubic metres per annum, Cardwell doesn’t. The massive east coast sand supply train simply drops off the continental shelf just north after forming Fraser Island. This process creates Grand Canyon type structures, dropping into the depths .

    This constant north bound sand supply train explains why the rocky and rock wall protected Wategoes and The Pass are sometimes beach-less and at other times have variable but mostly wide sandy beach.

    Main Beach has the 1.2 hectare Jonson St artificial headland that forms the car park and part of the Byron’s pool complex with its groynes, it all sits 90 meters proud and seaward of the one historic escarpment position.

    This headland stabilizes a once variable positioned Main Beach by trapping the north bound sand for extended periods that was naturally destined for Belongil Beach, This is the root cause of Belongil’s problems!

    Yes in 1913 the escarpment or dune drop off point to the beach was where lane one of Byron’s pool currently sits.
    Peer reviewed published studies have shown the core dune position of Belongil Beach and Spit have happily existed in its current though variable location for over 5000 years. The creek opening position has happily been moving up and down a few hundred metres of the coast.
    Over that period sea levels have varied, averaging one metre higher and up to 1.6 metres higher than current sea levels.
    Once again we now have a wide sandy beach in front of the coffee rock cliff face at Border St.
    So don’t despair Jan, it might also help to remember the extensive natural sub dunes that formed in front of and covered the rock walls in the mid 1980s and again in the early 1990s.


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