Byron Shire’s cherished Environmental Levy is under threat.
The rush to build a rock wall at Belongil has already seen $300,000 diverted to this ill-considered project. Now Environmental Levy funds of $300,000 or more are proposed to be raided.
Environmental Levy funds are raised as a special rate variation with ministerial approval specifically for environmental works. As such, any use of these funds for other types of works would be a major breach of faith with ratepayers and outside the terms of the original approval.
The community is already being shortchanged by this project in many ways by preempting the outcome of the Coastal Zone Management Plan due for completion mid-year.
Not only will this prejudice community consultation over all possible options for coastline management, it will also greatly increase Council’s potential liability by being completed outside the process prescribed by law.
Council is to consider the question at its next meeting on Thursday.
Byron Shire Cr Basil Cameron, Goonengerry