For The Echo to describe Cr Rose Wanchap as a ‘renegade Greens councillor’ for so-called ‘voting against party lines’ to approve the interim rock works at Belongil is quite extraordinary.
If Cr Wanchap is a renegade then so were the decisions of former Greens mayor Jan Barham and current mayor Simon Richardson.
Cr Wanchap has done nothing more than extend the logic first used by former Greens’ mayor Jan Barham in voting to protect the town centre to Belongil Beach.
If you are going to protect the town centre, Cr Wanchap can see it’s illogical to do so at the cost of Belongil community.
In 2006 Mayor Barham, contrary to the Greens’ said policy of ‘managed retreat’, used her casting vote to ensure the protection of the town centre with upgraded protection works.
In today’s article mayor Simon Richardson said, ‘He readily admitted he was not a supporter of the move (for interim rocks beach stabilisation works) and emphasised that Greens policy remained ‘managed retreat’.
Mayor Richardson recently voted for a new multimillion-dollar apartment complex DA approval right on Main Beach.
Did that decision fit with the Greens’ ‘managed retreat’ policy, or was he just being a ‘renegade’?
The history of the Byron Greens’ policy of ‘managed retreat’ has always had a touch of illogical madness about it, diligently and selectively pursued by the Greens, always at a massive cost to the community.
The Greens’ policy should really be renamed ‘managed retreat at any cost in some places’.
The cost to the whole community to date has been huge: millions being spent on doomed environmentally hazardous interim geo-bag works, legal costs, and endless – mostly ignored – expert reports all gathering dust over decades.
To suggest that the minority of councillors opposing the interim rocks are ‘progressive’ for opposing the infill of the few gaps left in the historic Belongil protective works beggars belief.
Thanks to the sensible majority of this council, the current decision has finally brought an end to the past madness, equitably protected a large community together with valuable council assets from the historic impact of the Jonson St town centre protection works.
Hopefully we can now move on and look forward to an inclusive coastal zone management plan that equitably manages the beach at Belongil in the same manner that Council has stabilised Main Beach for decades.
John Vaughan, Belongil