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Byron Shire
July 24, 2021

Planned retreat the only solution

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The only way to restore the beach at Belongil, and save what is left of it at the end of the wall, as well as the shorebird nesting area, is to implement planned retreat by insisting that the extensive unlawful rock and rubble works be removed. Rather than being caught between a rock and a hard place, the beach system will then be able to move as the seas rise and the coast erodes.

It was always silly to build on an eroding sand spit and that is why Council decided over 25 years ago to not defend the houses and adopted planned retreat. Now that we know that global warming is happening, and the seas are rising at an accelerating rate, it is the height of stupidity for this council to abandon planned retreat and construct their own rock walls.

I am disgusted that my rates are helping to destroy a beach and an important bird-nesting and -roosting area for the benefit of a few landowners who bought on the basis of planned retreat. The beach is worth far more to this community, visitors, nesting turtles and shorebirds than a few houses.

Byron Shire councillors who support this should be ashamed that this is contrary to the Local Environment Plan and Development Control Plan and yet they won’t let ratepayers have a say in it.

Dailan Pugh, Byron Bay


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  1. After the last big cyclone in North Queensland they put rock walls along the beachfront at Cardwell.What was once a beautiful sandy beach has now disappeared ,the ocean lapping at the foot of the rock wall.
    I remember watching the houses sliding into the ocean down at the Belongil back in the early 70s after a very powerful cyclone,don’t think we have had a cyclone pass thru here since 1989,will be interesting to see what happens when the next one comes thru.The Belongil Creek mouth would have moved 200 metres north in my 50 years living here,swallowing up a lot of the old Globetrotters site.The word Belongil Beach should now be Belongil Boulders!

  2. Planned retreat was the right choice for this particular area many years ago after the devastating cyclones of the 70s and it’s still the right choice today, especially with what lies ahead with global warming. Residents can kick and scream all they want but at some time a cyclone is going to hit Byron head on and take out that spit, rock wall or not. It’s a case of buyer beware when you buy at Belongil – and has been since planned retreat was originally announced.


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