Open letter to Byron Council GM
Dear Mr. Gainger,
We are writing to you as the co-coordinators of the Green and Clean Dunecare group.
This official volunteer group has been working repairing the dunes by removing rubbish and weeds and re-planting, from Main Beach to Clarkes Beach for 17 years.
We have implemented, to fruition, restoration goals of Byron Shire Council’s 2004 Plans of Vegetation Management for Main Beach.
Byron Bay’s dunes are a fragile and vulnerable narrow wildlife corridor that has slowly returned to health from past abuse with the commitment and work of volunteers. It continues to be under pressure from the large number of people who use them.
There must be no expectation that such events can occur on Byron Bay’s iconic beaches. We feel there are ample opportunities and facilities for events requiring this style of infrastructure to be located off the beach.
Green and Clean Dunecare Group urges Council to take the view that this was a one-off event and that such events are not sustainable in this vulnerable regenerating dune area. Council needs to review its policy regarding events on the beach.
Such events conflict with Byron businesses campaign of ‘Byron Naturally’.
As carers of the dunes, we are primary stakeholders and have both a right and expectation to be informed and consulted.
Our group has canvassed amongst its members issues arising from this event and wishes to express its opposition, concerns and rationale.
We are opposed to:
1) Structures being erected on the beach.
2) Night events requiring artificial lighting or generators on the beach.
3) Any amplification, music or microphones on the beach.
4) Privatised areas on our public beach.
5) Alcohol being consumed on the beach.
6) Exclusion from consultation, as we are a major stakeholder.
We have no issues with the beach being used for low impact and sympathetic uses, such as surf schools, kayak tours, wedding ceremonies.
We are concerned:
1) At the magnitude of the structures, causing erosion at the site and to the pathways, when the structures are transported to and from the site.
2) That a one-night event involves 3 days, (including setup and pack up) of wear and tear and occupation of our public beach.
3) That toilets to service approximately 150 people were inadequately and inconveniently located 100m from the marquees where alcohol was being consumed, thus rendering the beach and foredunes vulnerable to pollution from human excrement.
4) The fore-dune area is a rich habitat supporting mammals, reptiles and birds including the migratory Red Necked Stint and sand nesting birds such as the Rainbow Bee Eater and vulnerable Pied Oyster Catcher. The endangered Bush Stone Curlew has also been recorded recently in beach management Zone 6 (as per BSC Vegetation Plan of Management) adjacent the event site.
The refuge and nesting requirements of these and other species is placed under considerable stress (as delineated in Threatened Species determinations and Shore Bird Recovery Plans) by night lighting, amplified sound and foot traffic.
We acknowledge that Byron Shire Council is the manager for these Crown lands. We, the Green and Clean team are the carers of the Dunes on these Crown Lands. Our hope is that we can work together to continue to repair and preserve our magnificent beaches and dunes.
Then all who live here and visit can enjoy the primary attraction and natural drawcard for Byron Bay, its beautiful beach.
Veda Turner on behalf of Green and Clean Awareness Team – Clarkes and Main Beach Dunecare , Byron Bay